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POL312Y1 Lecture Notes - Multilateralism, Consumerism, Idle No More

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POL312 Canadian Foreign Policy
Lecture 18
Prof. Greaves
Feb 28 2013
Climate Change and Post-Kyoto Protocol
- The changing climate (literal)
- A changing climate (figurative)
- Solving the problem
- Key dates and events
The Greenhouse Effect
- Thick gas in the air where heat gets trapped. The problem is that last few
hundreds of years, there was too much green house gas produced, releasing
them into atmosphere, this increase volume fuel and thickens the layer which
traps more heat.
- Different methods are applied to science. One measurement that is the most
common is CO2 parts per million.
The changing climate (literal)
- Changing climate is primarily human-caused (anthropogenic) and largely
- Mean global temperature has increased 0.6’ since 1900’ will increase by . 2.0’
BY 2100
o 13 hottest years on record in the last 15 years
- Results vary by region, but impacts strongest at poles and in tropics (Arctic
and Global South)
- Impacts vary but include: more frequent and powerful storms and extreme
weather, sea-level rise, glacier melt, ocean acidification, drought, reduced
crop yields, invasive species, unpredictable weather patterns, health effects
and infectious disease, threshold effect
- “Humanity is conducting an unintended, uncontrolled, globally pervasive
experiment whose ultimate consequences could be second only to a global
nuclear war” - Toronto Conference 1988
- Nominal agreement on importance of climate change
o Exceptions include some US legislators, Big Energy, climate deniers,
Koch brothers, and others
o Fundamental (incompatible?) differences over what to do
mitigation, adaptation, carbon ta, cap and trade
- Problems: “wicked problem” - collective action problem and freeriding,
perverse incentives, conflicting national interest, scale and scope of the
problem, scientific uncertainty, climate denial
- Uneven costs
o 1% global GDP/ year to mitigate; 5% global GDP/year for not
mitigating- Stern 2006
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