Those who are wealthy have some degree of control over their climate. When it is hot, they can cool themselves down with air conditioners. Likewise, when it is cold, they can warm themselves with heaters. The wealthier the person, the more sophisticated the heating or cooling employed. A poor person has little such climate control. When it is hot, they are hot. When it is cold, they are cold. Without accessing any other information or asking any questions, the ability someone has to control their own personal environment is a ready and reasonable way of assessing their level of economic development.
It is ironic then that as all nations become increasingly wealthy that the ability to control climate is quickly disappearing. Climate change is occurring and the affects are already evident. Weather patterns are changing, animal migration is occurring at different times, polar ice caps are shrinking and access to secure water supplies for some is diminishing. Global wealth is no longer sufficient for being assured of climate control.
In a sense, therefore, all nations and all individuals are becoming more poor-like. Further, this lack of climate control will be exacerbated if we continue to develop as we have in the past. The global community must now act in unity to address climate change. The Kyoto Protocol was the first significant international instrument that addressed climate change. However, this protocol ceases to exist in 2012 and negotiations have already begun to design the next international climate change protocol.
This new book sets out what this new protocol might be. The purpose of the book is therefore to contribute to the current negotiations and offer an alternative to the consensus that appears to be emerging: a consensus that will see very little departure from the principles that underpinned the Kyoto Protocol – limited targets for a limited number of nations. The reactive approach – see what happens, limit damages, and learn from experience – is unworkable. Rather we must take a proactive approach. This thought-provoking book proposes a proactive approach to the design of the next international climate change protocol.