Center for American Progress

Seeking New Opportunities to Prevent Global Warming

Download: PDF

Those concerned about global warming were likely hoping for a different outcome in this year’s U.S. presidential election. But Russia’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol – which means the treaty will finally enter into force – reminds us that opportunities still exist to reinvigorate efforts to prevent climate change.

In our increasingly globalized world, strong economies and stable societies depend on sustainable development. Dependence on finite sources of oil leaves nations vulnerable. The impact on societies of the battle for resources can be as devastating as war or famine.

But perhaps nowhere is the challenge of sustainable development as profound and vital as the effort to combat global climate change and transition economies based on fossil fuel to cleaner, renewable sources of energy. Carbon pollution knows no boundaries. A smokestack in one part of the world may contribute directly to the destabilization of the climate in another. And the legacy of our pollution makes the consequences of our inaction a burden to our children and future generations.

“Building Global Alliances for the 21stCentury” is a partnership between progressive international leaders seeking cooperative solutions to global challenges. We recognize the need to lay the groundwork for action now. We recognize that we must reinforce the efforts of governments, nongovernmental organizations and businesses that have already developed initiatives to address this problem. We are committed to pursuing an ambitious effort to:

  • Intensify efforts to implement local, national and regional emission trading markets for greenhouse gas emissions. We will seek to identify and include other flexible mechanisms designed to lessen the cost of meeting the targets laid out in the Kyoto Protocol. We must cooperate on lessons learned, and work to ensure consistency and transparency of systems in order to maximize potential linkages between distinct local, national and regional trading markets.
  • Launch a plan of action for sustainable energy production. We must take the lead in fully exploiting the potential for more efficient uses of energy, including measures to promote energy efficiency technologies and renewable energy sources. In particular, we should break new ground in promoting technology transfers to developing and emerging economies.
  • Initiate a broad discussion on the development of a global climate change accord beyond 2012. We should aim to include all countries in a multilateral framework and to develop an equitable accord that respects the diversity of circumstances and conditions across the globe.

Download full report: Seeking New Opportunities to Prevent Global Warming

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.