The Kyoto Protocol and the recent Bali Summit clearly show that a global approach is fraught with political agendas, principally on the part of the United States, that make an effective climate control agreement the product of compromises. Unless the United States, Japan and India join in a concerted bid to agree to emission targets, any agreement will be a show of political intent rather than a commitment to action. Thus the idea of creating climate clubs becomes all the more feasible as it will allow nations who wish to act on climate change to proceed forward, hopefully creating a framework of progress, that will then become the basis of political and social pressure on countries who do not follow the path towards climate change.
While regional climate agreements will be seen as half measures, the reality is that those are better than no action at all. In addition, it will set the framework that will prevent regional members from unilaterally abandoning the regional agenda to pursue a policy of wanton pollution and emission freedom on the pretext of progress. Sadly, the U.S. position is based on the supposition that emission targets will slow growth within the U.S. That’s a seriously flawed position, because emissions controls can allow nations to achieve the targets gradually over an agreed timetable. Inaction is not the solution.
Indeed, a regional climate control club of, say, North America would be the least successful, but allowing a regional approach will allow countries in, say, Africa (where the next phase of industrialization might take place) to create a framework now rather than later. A climate club of the willing is always going to be a better solution than nations with resolve waiting for the rouge nations to come on board. It will also allow these nations to set standards of commerce with the violating nations (no-trade policies, for example) and spur investment into R&D for new cleaner energy alternatives.
If Al Gore can admit that his country's stance is flawed and still nothing is done about it, then perhaps willing nations should take the moral high ground and go it alone, through climate clubs.
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