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  • Approach to climate change 'needs radical rethink'

The international approach to tackling climate change is a misguided failure that needs to be radically re-thought by the United Nations conference in Indonesia in December, say Gwyn Prins and Steve Rayner in this Nature article.

The Kyoto Protocol has not cut emissions, pays only token attention to the needs of societies to adapt to climate change and has stifled discussion on alternative policy approaches, they say.

Instead of attacking climate change through global emissions controls, they recommend a portfolio of approaches based on at least five elements: focussing on the big greenhouse gas emitters, letting emissions markets evolve from the bottom up, putting public investment in energy research and development on a wartime footing, increasing spending on adaptation and allowing countries to choose policies that suit their circumstances — "a global federalism of climate policy".

The authors voice concern that advocates of the Kyoto approach will find it hard to admit failure and change policy, but warn that continued policy failure spun as a story of success could lead to public withdrawal of trust and consent for action in any form.

Link to full article in Nature