Climate Change Solution: Underpromise, Overdeliver

David Roberts, staff writer for the enviro-news site

Nov 25, 2009
Outside Magazine
David Roberts

David Roberts of   

You've been talking to Nordhaus. Let me guess: New paradigm is what he's saying, and old paradigm is what everyone else is saying. My take: It's a false dichotomy. He has a point insofar as the Kyoto Protocol failed by skipping directly to what a final treaty would look like: concrete emissions target=s. But ultimately, they're what's going to save our asses, so a "new paradigm"? No, because we eventually need the old treaty. The thing to do is what Obama is trying: Set expectations low and then beat them. Get commitments of money to prevent deforestation and for x number of electric vehicles—the investments Nordhaus loves—and fill the gap between here and a full-fledged treaty. Everybody's worried it's going be this economic hit, but I think making your economy more efficient is going to turn out as a boon.

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