July 25, 2011
The Steps Not Yet Taken
The climate system of the planet earth, and the energy system built by those who inhabit the earth, are today seen as the integrated elements of a single problem: global warming. In turn, scientific inquiry, public concern, and policy prescription have given rise to an international regime for controlling the behavior of the climate through management of the global energy system. In this chapter we explain why this regime, and in particular its codification through the Kyoto Protocol, is a failure. Our central point is simple: protecting people and the environment from the impacts of climate is a different problem from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat global warming. The policies that have resulted from combining these two problems are, as a consequence, failing to meaningfully address either problem. Policies to reduce global warming must be pursued independently of policies to reduce climate impacts.