The Yale Center
for the Study of Globalization has taken, as an essential part
of its mission, the study of problems that, even if they do not necessarily
result directly from globalization, are global in nature and can
therefore be effectively addressed only through international cooperation.
We believe this to be the case with global warming. Mitigation
of climate change is a global public good and is, for the most part,
non-excludable and nonrival in consumption at the international
We share the belief that the question of whether or
not global warming is taking place has already been settled by science.
It is happening. But we also acknowledge that there are other issues
in the scientific, economic and political debates which are not yet
being settled, not least among them how far the average warming
could go if present trends continue; the degree to which human activities,
through the generation of greenhouse gases, have worsened and will
continue to accelerate the warming; the most likely consequences
on human habitat; and the fundamental policy concern of what to
do about climate change.
Without demeaning the value of what is being
done multilaterally and unilaterally – by civil society, local
governments and individual business firms – a valid presumption
is that much more must be done to address this problem seriously.
To proceed, however, it seems indispensable to pursue anew an international
consensus on the real dimensions of the problem. Opinions on this
issue are divided within and among countries. The international consensus
that once seemed to exist vanished with the withdrawal of the United
Sates from the Kyoto protocol in early 2001 and dialogue on this
issue among some of the key geopolitical players has been a dialogue
of the deaf. We are hopeful, however, that attitudes from the pertinent
actors will become more propitious for a serious dialogue and even
for initiating some important agreements.
Enriching and intensifying
the debate on this issue right now is warranted because of the
timing of the programmed multilateral discussions on global climate
policy post 2012. It is about time to start looking into what can
be done after the compliance period 2008-2012 is over. There is serious
need to look beyond Kyoto without ignoring the experiences, both
good and bad, that have so far been provided by that instrument.
It is in this context that the conference, “Global Warming:
Looking Beyond Kyoto,” was presented.