Posted by: bmeverett | March 1, 2014

The Debate on Climate Negotiations

The Fletcher School has an excellent journal called The Fletcher Forum. The Forum recently initiated a debate on the major geopolitical risks we current face, namely:
1. The Breakdown of Climate Change Negotiations
2. The Growing War within Islam
3. The Credit Crisis and Economic Slowdown in China
4. The Growth of Cyber-espionage
5. The Unraveling of Africa’s Economic Boom

You can find Dean Stavridis’ introductory material at, and I encourage you to have a look.

As is too often the case, the introduction starts the discussion way too far downstream, The Dean notes that “Failure to take aggressive action on any new [climate] agreement will be problematic as climate change accelerates and we near the depletion of our carbon budget.” With this statement, the debate is effectively over, rather than engaged.

There have been six articles submitted to the Forum so far on this topic, which you can find at As you can see, they cover a very narrow range of opinion. I find the discussion reminiscent of the old disarmament debates of the 1960s-1980s. Nuclear weapons, it was argued, pose such a threat to humanity that they simply have to be eliminated, and we should engage the Soviet Union immediately in an effort to achieve that purpose. Behind these proposals were the unspoken assumptions that the Soviet Union had nuclear weapons only because the US threatened them and that the Soviets would be happy to dismantle theirs if we got rid of ours. The discussion of climate change negotiations mirrors this logic. Climate change is so serious that the “international community” has to fix it. If the US leads the way, other countries will follow. This argument is wrong on many levels.

I’ve been invited to submit an article myself, which I plan to do during the next week. I’ll post the link in this space as soon as it’s available.



  1. greatly looking forward to your article from the “other” side of the tape

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