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GLOBAL COOPERATION: Europe can push U.S. and China into climate partnership -- report
Lisa Friedman, ClimateWire reporter
Monday, August 4, 2008
Invoking the famed 1960s and '70s mission to put a man on the moon, a leading global think tank has proposed a U.S.-China "Apollo-like" joint venture to slash greenhouse gas emissions inside a decade.
And that's just for starters. There's also a call for orbital solar energy satellites, a major investment in seawater agriculture and a "green chapter" in the Geneva Conventions for safeguarding the rights of the environment.
The 2008 "State of the Future" report, produced by the Millennium Project of the World Federation of United Nations Associations, draws from more than 2,500 experts worldwide. Touching on everything from gender inequities to water scarcity to international organized crime, the study is a sweeping overview of global problems and out-of-the-box solutions.
"People go running around saying, 'We need to look at the whole picture to understand our part of it.' So we present the whole picture," said Jerome Glenn, director of the Millennium Project.
Their bottom line: Peace and prosperity are possible -- unless humanity ruin its chances with poor policy choices.
"Advances in science, technology, education, economics and management seem capable of making the world far better than it is today," the authors wrote. "The future continues to get better for most of the world."
But, they warn, "a series of tipping points could drastically alter global prospects."
Climate change, Glenn noted, touches on everything from poverty to energy security to agriculture. Asked where it fits into the global outlook, he replied, "Where doesn't it fit in?"
"Without a global strategy to address climate change, the environmental movement may turn on the fossil fuel industries," the report warns. "The legal foundations are being laid to sue for damages caused by greenhouse gases."
The centerpiece of the Millennium Project's proposal on climate change is a joint mission between the United States and China. Working hand in hand, the world's superpower and its fastest-growing economy would come together to fight global warming.
Atmospheric CO2 is currently at 387 parts per million, according to scientists, and leading experts are now suggesting that a target of 350 ppm is needed to prevent drastic effects from climate change. The report proposes a 10-year goal that would promote electric cars, saltwater agriculture, carbon sequestration, solar power satellites, animal protein without animals and enhanced hot-rock geothermal production.
And who would bring the United States and China -- which, at the moment are at loggerheads over their roles in climate negotiations -- together? The European Union, it seems.
Glenn said he envisions the European Union pressuring the nations into such a venture -- and that feedback from some international leaders has been positive.
"Nobody's told me 'no,'" Glenn said. As for skepticism that the United States and China would join forces on the issue, he noted that climate conversations have already opened between the two. And, he said, climate change requires thinking big.
"All these things are hard," he said. "Everybody said that you can't land a man on the moon. So you never know."
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ClimateWire is written and produced by the staff of E&E Publishing, LLC. It is designed to provide comprehensive, daily coverage of all aspects of climate change issues. From international agreements on carbon emissions to alternative energy technologies to state and federal GHG programs, ClimateWire plugs readers into the information they need to stay abreast of this sprawling, complex issue.
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