Monday, September 21, 2009

Leadership on Climate Change

International actors are preparing to take leadership roles in dealing with the impacts of climate change. Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC that shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007, called for NATO to focus on climate induced conflicts, saying that:
"I think, given the fact that NATO is an organization which has enormous strengths, with the inputs of a large number of extremely important countries, I think it has to redefine its role...I would imagine that it should be driven by a much greater study of what is likely to happen in the future, than to be caught unawares. And if that’s the case NATO certainly can play an extremely important role in preventing or managing some of these threats and problems."
Part of adapting to climate change requires altering the aims and functions of institutions. For example, NATO is seeking to engage Russia on ensuing conflict does not result from the melting of the arctic. There are enormous untapped and contested hydrocarbon reserves under the melting ice that could be available.

This week, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao will both address the UN general assembly. Premier Hu expected to announce a carbon intensity target to show its commitment to international efforts to mitigate climate change. Xinhua, China's state controlled media service, warned that "Any attempts by a party in the UN negotiations to maximize its own interest at the cost of interest of others in the negotiation process is not conducive to powering green economy and protecting our planet." China and Europe have both criticized the US for insufficient commitments to climate change mitigation and both may be seeking to cement itself as the international leader on climate change issues.

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