The UN Climate Change Conference started this week in Cancun, México. The Spotlight Cancun series, a joint series by Real Climate Economics and Triple Crisis , invites experts to comment on the negotiations and the prospects for real progress addressing climate change in the months and years ahead. This piece by Frank Ackerman and Kevin Gallagher was published in the Guardian today.
The US is out of step with the world on the science of global warming, but could be united by the economic case for tackling it.
The failure of US climate legislation, following last year’s disappointing negotiations at Copenhagen, casts a pall over the round of climate talks in Cancún this week. And the global recession and budget-cutting crisis makes this seem like the worst time for new climate initiatives. Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of delaying action: the laws of physics don’t need 60 votes in the US Senate to continue making the world’s climate less and less livable.
There are two battles over climate change. The legitimacy of climate science has been challenged in the media, but repeated reviews have found only scattered typographical errors in IPCC reports and other assessments. Last year’s theft of emails from climate scientists revealed the shocking news that leading researchers can be rude and competitive – but not much else. While science-deniers remain prominent in US politics, most of the world has moved on. (more…)