Draft notes on Dale Jamieson

Adaptation, Mitigation, and Justice


1.         History of GW

            a.         1988 James Hansen (a famous NASA scientist) claimed before the U.S. senate that it was 99% probable that GW had begun

            b.         IPPC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) was established by the U.N. Environmental Program in 1989 to assess the relevant scientific information and formulate response strategies

            c.         FCCC (Framework Convention on Climate Change) opened for signature at 1992 Rio Earth Summit, came into force 1994 and by 2004 had been ratified by 189 countries

                        i.         It aimed to stabilize GHG to a leve that would prevent dangerous interference with climate

                        ii.        Most wanted binding targets/timetables, but went with the U.S. and Russia’s view commitment to return to 1990 GHG levels by 2000 be voluntary

            d.         Kyoto protocol:

                        i.         Established binding emission reduction objectives

                                    (1)       14% between 2000 and 2010

                        ii.        In 2005, the Kyoto protocol on GW went into affect and only the U.S. and Australia (among major countries) are not signatories

                        iii.       Includes meeting targets by trading emissions and establishing carbon sinks

                        iv.       Jamieson argues it has been so weakened as to be almost meaningless

            e.         U.S. which had once insisted developing countries be included in GHG emission reductions has been blocking any sort of new commitments after Kyoto commitments end in 2012.


2.         Three responses to GW: Prevention, adaptation, mitigation

            a.         Prevention is no longer an option.


3.         Distinction between adaptation (how we respond to climate change–adjustments to ecological, social and economic systems) and mitigation (reducing greenhouse gas emissions)

            a.         Need both, not adaptation only

            b.         Why?

            c.         One reason, is w/o mitigation we may drive climate system into radically different state to which it may be virtually impossible to adapt

                        i.         History of dramatic and quick changes in climate (p. 223): 11,500 years ago average temperature rose 12 degrees Fahrenheit in 10 years and rain doubled in three years

            d.         Also adaptation only is a polluted pays, rather than polluter pays model

                        i.         Poor (around the world and even in rich countries) are the ones who will be most greatly harmed by GW, are least able to adapt to it, but the poor are least responsible for GW and put out the least GHG

            e.         Mitigation: Polluter pays (because those emitting GHG must do the work to reduce their emissions)


4.         Trading GHG emission rights

            a.         Argument for it: More efficient (cheaper) way to attain desired GHG levels

            b.         One problem: Russia has been allowed to sell emissions rights that it would no longer use due to the collapse of the Soviet Union (p. 230); thus trading of emissions has increased GHG emissions


5.         Miscellaneous:

            a.         Saudi Arabia wanted compensation if the world turned away from fossil fuels


6.         Conclusions

            a.         Need Global Marshall Plan (the U.S. plan after WWII that rebuilt Europe)

            b.         Internationalize the cost of adaptation to finance cost in poor countries