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The aim of the paper is to inform climate negotiators as they begin a two-year process of ratcheting up climate commitments, which currently fall far short of the 1. The related website also serves as a guide to how nations are sharing the burden of responding to the greatest environmental threat humankind has ever faced. Among the major economies, the study shows India is leading the way with a target that is only slightly off course for 2C. Less developed countries are generally more ambitious, in part because they have fewer factories, power plants and cars, which means they have lower emissions to rein in.

On the opposite side of the spectrum are the industrial powerhouse China and major energy exporters who are doing almost nothing to limit carbon dioxide emissions.

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These include Saudi Arabia oil , Russia gas and Canada, which is drawing vast quantities of dirty oil from tar sands. Fossil fuel lobbies in these countries are so powerful that government climate pledges are very weak, setting the world on course for more than 5C of heating by the end of the century.


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Only slightly better are the group of countries that are pushing the planet beyond 4C. Among them are the US, which has huge emissions from energy, industry and agriculture somewhat offset by promises of modest cuts and more renewables. Australia, which remains heavily depend ent on coal exports, is also in this category.

This has created a lot of positive momentum in states and cities. The corporate sector also understands the benefits of environmentalism and can see the growth potential in clean energy. But it would be foolish to underestimate the influence of the president — for example when it comes to deregulation. Some of these setbacks are temporary and can be reversed by the next US government, but it will take a lot of work, and time matters when it comes to the environment. Things do not stand still and there is a lot of potential for damage in the short term. The impacts of climate change will force more and more state governments, including those run by Republicans, to deal with the reality of its effects.

Could this eventually change the conversation over climate change in the Republican party? This must be the case, especially in states that experience extreme weather like wildfires and hurricanes, for example. Some of these states are already quite progressive on environmental matters. The facts on the ground are becoming increasingly difficult to deny.

In many respects, the public is ahead of politicians when it comes to environmentalism, and when Americans witness a hurricane or wildfire or a change in the coastlines, this is a pretty serious counter to a climate denier in Washington. The second volume of the 4th National Climate Assessment warns that the effects of climate change could cost America billions of dollars, damaging as much as 10 per cent of the US economy and disrupting trade significantly , by the end of the century. How prepared are US voters to have tough conversations around funding green solutions and is this likely to change as the effects of climate change increase?


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The publication of the second volume of the 4th National Climate Assessment last year was resounding in its endorsement of the negative effects of carbon emissions. Scientific knowledge is neither immediately performative nor persuasive. There is but one political system that is able to rationally and legitimately cope with the divergent political interests affected by climate change and that is democracy. Only a democratic system can sensitively attend to the conflicts within and among nations and communities, decide between different policies, and generally advance the aspirations of different segments of the population.

The ultimate and urgent challenge is that of enhancing democracy, for example by reducing social inequality 8. If not, the threat to civilization will be much more than just changes to our physical environment. The erosion of democracy is an unnecessary suppression of social complexity and rights.

The philosopher Friedrich Hayek, who led the debate against social and economic planning in the mid-twentieth century 9 , noted a paradox that applies today. We should heed his warning. It is dangerous to blindly believe that science and scientists alone can tell us what to do. Adam, D. Beeson, M.

Russian Federation | Climate Action Tracker

Politics 19 , — Hansen, J. Runciman, D. Press, Stehr, N. Pierre, J. Rosanvallon, P.

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The Society of Equals Harvard Univ. Hayek, F. Nature , — The Constitution of Liberty Routledge, Contact Nico Stehr.

Russia: Putin discusses science, climate and migration with students in Sochi

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