The 14 authors of a new report on climate policy describe themselves as “an eclectic group of academics, analysts and energy policy advocates”. They say the Kyoto Protocol style approach “crashed” last year with the perceived failure of the Copenhagen meeting.
A new approach, focusing on human dignity, is required, they argue in their ‘Hartwell Paper’ – named after the house in Buckinghamshire where the authors convened in February.
“To reframe the climate issue around matters of human dignity is not just noble or necessary. It is also likely to be more effective than the approach of framing around human sinfulness –which has failed and will continue to fail,” write the authors, including Gwyn Prins, of the London School of Economics; Roger Pielke Jr, of the University of Colorado; and Hiroyuki Tezuka, who represented the Japan Iron and Steel Federation.
A new approach should focus on three objectives, says the paper, ensuring energy access for all, developing in a way that does not undermine Earth systems, and ensuring societies can withstand all climate vagaries, “whatever their cause may be”. The Hartwell group argues that the inclusive approach of previous attempts to reach a global climate consensus needs to be broken up, with forests, biodiversity, air quality and other issues put back into silos and made to “again stand on their own”.
Their paper also suggests that an almost exclusive focus on carbon dioxide is unwise, and there should be more action on other greenhouse agents, such as black carbon and tropospheric ozone.
Bill Hare, of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, told the BBC, he did not buy this. “The paper’s focus away from CO2 is misguided, short-sighted and probably wrong,” says Hare. “If you take action on black carbon and do not reduce CO2 emissions then you may end up with more warming in the long term.”
Hare also says that the Kyoto Protocol is “one of the few things that have worked” and he questions the Hartwell group’s acceptance of industry funding
from Japanese industry group Nippon Keidanren [11/5: Professor Pielke has asked us to clarify that although some funding was received from Japanese industry groups Nippon Keidanren was not among them. The BBC story has also changed in this regard.]
On his blog, Pielke Jr writes, “As we state up front, some funding for our meeting did indeed come from industry. Other funding came from foundations. We are appreciative to all of our funders for enabling the work to occur. I can assure you that no one told us what to say, and I’m pretty sure most participants were unaware of where all of the funding came from at the time of the meeting (I was).”