William Antholis and Strobe Talbott guide the reader through two decades of climate change politics and diplomacy, explaining the national and international factors that have influenced and often impeded domestic climate legislation and global negotiations. Recent United Nations–sponsored summits have demonstrated that the world cannot wait for a binding global treaty. Instead, the authors believe that the "Big Four" of America, the European Union, China, and India must lead the way forward. They recommend a new international mechanism modeled on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade that would monitor national commitments and create incentives for other countries to coordinate their efforts to cut emissions.
Antholis and Talbott put their recommendations for legislative and diplomatic action into the larger context of our obligation to future generations, echoing a theme stressed by a diverse coalition of religious leaders calling for ambitious action on climate change. The world we leave to our children and grandchildren is not an abstraction, or even just a legacy; we must think about what kind of world that will be in deciding how we live—and act—today.
Praise for Fast Forward
"William Antholis and Strobe Talbott brilliantly explode the economic and scientific myths about climate change while elevating the political debate to a transgenerational moral crisis. Their synthesis of science, economics, religion, and philosophy is a clarion call to action for anyone interested in the future of the planet—which means all of us."—Andrea Mitchell, NBC News
"In their very timely and fast-paced account of where we are today on the politics of global warming, the authors see Copenhagen as having pointed up the futility of relying on the United Nations as the only vehicle through which to tackle climate change."—Ed Luce, Financial Times
"Strobe Talbott and Bill Antholis have made an admirable and important effort to move beyond the recent political rancor in Washington. They have a plan for leaders who want to be serious about energy and climate."—Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-Ill.)
William Antholis is managing director of the Brookings Institution, where he is also a senior fellow in Governance Studies. During Bill Clinton's presidency, he served on the White House National Security Council staff and was a U.S. negotiator of the Kyoto Protocol.
Strobe Talbott, president of Brookings, served seven years as U.S. deputy secretary of state. Prior to his government service, he spent twenty-one years with Time magazine. His previous books include The Great Experiment (Simon & Schuster, 2008) and Engaging India (Brookings, 2004).
The risks of climate change are potentially immense. The benefits of taking action are also clear: we can see that economic development, reduced emissions, and creative adaptation go hand in hand. A committed and strong low-carbon transition could trigger a new wave of economic and technological transformation and investment, a new era of global and sustainable prosperity. Why, then, are we waiting? In this book, Nicholas Stern explains why, notwithstanding the great attractions of a new path, it has been so difficult to tackle climate change effectively. He makes a compelling case for climate action now and sets out the forms that action should take.
Stern argues that the risks and costs of climate change are worse than estimated in the landmark Stern Review in 2006—and far worse than implied by standard economic models. He reminds us that we have a choice. We can rely on past technologies, methods, and institutions—or we can embrace change, innovation, and international collaboration. The first might bring us some short-term growth but would lead eventually to chaos, conflict, and destruction. The second could bring about better lives for all and growth that is sustainable over the long term, and help win the battle against worldwide poverty. The science warns of the dangers of neglect; the economics and technology show what we can do and the great benefits that will follow; an examination of the ethics points strongly to a moral imperative for action. Why are we waiting?
This book is based on workshops held in Mexico (2012) and in the US (2013), on a winter school at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand (2013), and on commissioned chapters. The workshop in Mexico and the publication were supported by two grants by the German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF). All texts in this book were peer-reviewed by scholars from all parts of the world.
Institutional interaction and complexity are crucial to environmental governance and are quickly becoming dominant themes in the international relations and environmental politics literatures. This book examines international institutional interplay and its consequences, focusing on two important issues: how states and other actors can manage institutional interaction to improve synergy and avoid disruption; and what forces drive the emergence and evolution of institutional complexes, sets of institutions that cogovern particular issue areas.
The book, a product of the Institutional Dimensions of Global Environmental Change research project (IDGEC), offers both theoretical and empirical perspectives. Chapters range from analytical overviews to case studies of institutional interaction, interplay management, and regime complexes in areas including climate change, fisheries management, and conservation of biodiversity. Contributors discuss such issues as the complicated management of fragmented multilateral institutions addressing climate change; the possible “chilling effect” on environmental standards from existing commitments; governance niches in Arctic resource protection; the relationships among treaties on conservation and use of plant genetic resources; causal factors in cross-case variation of regime prevalence; and the difficult relationship between the World Trade Organization and multilateral environmental agreements. The book offers a broad overview of research on interplay management and institutional complexes that provides important insights across the field of global environmental governance.
In 2014, India overwhelmingly elected Narendra Modi minister, a man who rose to national prominence as chief minister of Gujarat, India's fastest growing state. Likewise, in 2013, Xi Jinping took over as president of China, having served as top official in Zhejiang and Shanghai, two of China's most prosperous provinces.
Anticipating these trends and leadership transitions, William Antholis spent five months in 2012 traversing twenty Indian states and Chinese provinces, conducting over three hundred interviews, including with Narendra Modi. Antholis's detailed narratives show what both Modi and Xi Jinping learned firsthand: that local successes—and failures—will determine the future of the world's largest two nations. And his new forword, prepared for this edition, lays out key takeaways from the transitions of 2013 and 2014.
Greenhouse Governance features a number of America's preeminent public policy scholars, examining some aspect of governance and climate change. They analyze the state and influence of American public opinion on climate change as well as federalism and intergovernmental relations, which prove especially important since state and local governments have taken a more active role than originally expected. Specific policy issues examined include renewable electricity standards, mandating greater vehicle fuel economy, the "adaptation vs. mitigation" debate, emissions trading, and carbon taxes.
The contributors do consider the scientific and economic questions of climate policy but place special emphasis on political and managerial issues. They analyze the role of key American government institutions including the courts, Congress, and regulatory agencies. The final two chapters put the discussion into an international context, looking at climate governance challenges in North America, relations with the European Union, and possible models for international governance.
Contributors include Christopher Borick, Muhlenberg College; Martha Derthick, University of Virginia; Kirsten Engel, University of Arizona; Marc Landy, Boston College; Pietro Nivola, Brookings Institution; Paul Posner, George Mason University; Leigh Raymond, Purdue University; Walter Rosenbaum, University of Florida; Ian Rowlands, University of Waterloo; Henrik Selin, Boston University; Stacy VanDeveer, University of New Hampshire