India has been famous for arguing that it (and the rest of the developing world) should incur no expense in controlling emissions that cause climate change. The West caused the problem and it should clean it up. That argument is increasingly untenable-both in the fundamental arithmetic of climate change, which is a problem that is impossible to solve without developing country participation, and in the political reality that important western partners will increasingly demand more of India and other developing countries. India's own public is also demanding more.
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The geoengineering option
David Victor writes, in this recent journal article for Foreign Affairs, that as climate change accelerates, policymakers may have to consider "geoengineering" as an emergency strategy to cool the planet. Engineering the climate strikes most as a bad idea, but it is time to start taking it seriously.
Op-ed: Newsweek International on February 14, 2009
David Victor pinpoints some of the challenges ahead for the new Obama administration with respect to a coherent, national climate change policy. It will be tough to make Copenhagen successful if the U.S. lacks a national strategy to show off. Victor says that might be a good thing in that it will force the U.S to spend some time crafting real climate change policy leadership. Read more »
PESD Director, David Victor, proposes the use of accession protocols -- used in becoming a member nation in international economic institutions -- as a model for more successful engagement by developing countries in curbing greenhouse gases.
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PESD researchers Varun Rai, Ngai-Chi Chung, Mark Thurber, and David Victor have released an updated version of the PESD Carbon Storage Project Database. The purpose of this work is to maintain an up-to-date database of all publicly-announced current and planned CCS projects worldwide. The database suggests that a much wider application of CCS for the electric power industry will be needed in the next decade or so if CCS is to be a central player in efforts to slash CO2 emissions. On current patterns, the world will invest just 0.1% to 1% what is needed if carbon storage is to play a central role in cutting emissions of warming gases consistent with stabilizing the atmosphere at levels that are widely discussed as safe.
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In the recent issue of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, David Victor explores the possibilities of using geoengineering systems to offset the human impact on climate change. He argues that a regulatory framework to govern deployment of this technology system will be required promptly as a mechanism to address the human induced effects on the planet's climate.
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PESD work on the role of carbon offsets in climate change mitigation attracts international attention
Michael Wara and David Victor's recent work, A Realistic Policy on International Carbon Offsets, addresses problems with the world's largest offset program, the UN's Clean Development Mechanism. Wara and Victor argue that much of the CDM investment doesn't actually meet the UN's crucial additionality standards, and they outline ways to fix the problem.
- » Wall Street Journal: French firm cashes in under UN warming program
- » Science Magazine: California emissions plan to explore use of offsets
- » Wall Street Journal: UN warming program draws fire