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International Treaties on Climate Change
low-res stream | med-res stream | QuickTime movie
Michele Betsill, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University
A fast overview of two major international treaties on climate change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) and the Kyoto Protocol (1997), including guiding principles, the position of the US, and the future of international treaties.
(6 minutes, July 2009)

The Copenhagen Accord
low-res stream | med-res stream | QuickTime movie
Michele Betsill, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University
This short clip overviews the 2009 Copenhagen Accord including its goals, its final guidelines, and important advances made at that meeting.
(5 minutes, February 2010)

The Policy Challenges of Climate Change *
Michele Betsill, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University
What does climate change have to do with politics? What can we do, what are we doing, and how well are we doing? How do the approaches of the US and the EU differ? What is the cost of inaction when it comes to global warming? The answers to these questions and more are covered in this interesting discussion.
(25 minutes, November 2007)

Climate Change Politics and Policy Making *
Michele Betsill, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University
A lucid, interesting, and thorough explanation of the politics of climate change on the global, national, state, and local levels. Political scientist Betsill's topics include competing arguments about what counts as fair, the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol, policy changes by recent US presidents, US versus EU approaches to climate change, cap and trade, and what Colorado, other states, and cities like Fort Collins are doing. The slides, unfortunately, did not get recorded properly, but Dr. Betsill's talk is clear.
PDF file (4MB)
(46 minutes, April 2009)

The State of Adaptation in the United States
EcoAdapt, 2013, 118pp.
A straightforward and useful survey of climate-change adaptation efforts already underway and good opportunities for more. Free download.

articles & essays
What Is "Political Will"?
David Roberts, Vox.com, February 2016
A very interesting and helpful piece about this key question, based on a 2010 paper, "Defining Political Will," by Lori Ann Post, Amber Raile, and Eric Raile, that tried to answer it by pulling together threads from the academic literature. The short version: "the extent of committed support among key decision makers for a particular policy solution to a particular problem." But of course there are complications!

The Secret Deal to Save the Planet
Jeff Goodell, Rolling Stone, December 2014
An interesting inside look at the process that led to the deal between China and the US to tackle the CO2 problem. Goodell sheds some light on what happens behind closed doors, and what's at stake for both nations in such an agreement.

Past UN Climate Talks Have Failed. Will This Next One Be Any Different?
Brad Plumer, Vox, August 2014
This efficient story will bring you up to speed on the state of and prognosis for past UN climate agreements and the coming round of talks.

Reasons for Optimism on Climate Action
Michael Northrop, Huffington Post, January 2014
A encouraging shot of positive news here, much (but not all) of it on the policy front. Full of concrete details and supporting links.

Leaders as Host: A New Approach to Leadership in the Age of Climate Disruption
Peter Bardaglio, Climate Access, November 2013
Inside the framework about leadership types, this blog describes a number of interesting emissions-reduction collaborations among varied parties including local governments, businesses, colleges and universities, and citizens.

U.N. Environment Programme's Emissions Gap Report 2013
November 2013
How well is the world doing to lower our carbon emissions enough to keep global warming to no more than 2°C? This report (and its readable Executive Summary) addresses the increasing gap between ambition and reality. See also this clear story by Brad Plumer of the Washington Post: "How the World Is Failing at its Climate Goals, in One Giant Chart."

China Demands U.S. Taxpayers Clean Up Its Air
Gordon G. Chang, Forbes, January 2013
A good, short, general overview of China's position in the international political debates, including questions of money.

Climate Deregulation Tracker
Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia University
If you want to follow what is happening to climate-related regulations and policies under the Trump administration, this is your site. Other parts of the larger website offer a wealth of information about policies in place, actions being taken by state attorney generals, and more.

Climate Science Watch
With the goal of "promoting integrity in the use of climate science in government," this project addresses attacks on climate science and scientists, the need for protective adaptation, and many more topics at the intersection of politics, policy, and climate change.

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions: Policy
This excellent site (run by the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change) offers resources divided by level: international, US federal, and US state and region. It also includes a section on the relations between climate change and economics and a varied policy blog.

World Resources Institute: Climate
This prominent think tank works at the intersection of environment and economic development, and their website covers a range of levels of policy issues: international (finance, climate justice, emerging economies, etc.), US federal (legislation, EPA, etc.), and US state and regional (offering, for instance, a "Power Almanac of the American Midwest"), and many other important topics.

Climate 2030: A National Blueprint for a Clean Energy Economy
Union of Concerned Scientists, May 2009
This extensive, detailed, and readable analysis offers recommendations for jumpstarting the transition to a low-carbon economy while saving money for every region and household. Thoroughly researched and peer-reviewed; extensive references; useful for both lay-persons and professionals.

International Climate Policy
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
    The key source for detailed information on existing treaties and fairly detailed information on current international negotiations. Includes sections on adaptation, finance, and scientific methods, a calendar of meetings, daily schedules of meetings as they occur, selected articles from the world press, and many other interesting resources.

  • Earth Negotiations Bulletin‒Climate Change
    International Institute for Sustainable Development, Reporting Services Division
    Current news about international meetings. Part of a larger project and website covering the "latest news, information and analysis from international environment and sustainable development negotiations," including background documents, links to resources, and archived reports of meetings beginning with the Rio Earth Summit 1992.

  • Climate Action Network
    This organization of 700 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world offers "resources to drive international action on climate change," including discussion papers, policy positions, letters to governments, and "interventions made at the negotiations that are designed to inject the most salient points into the debate."

  • U.S. State Department: Global Climate Change
    This official government site offers information about international negotiations; press releases; reports on finance, water, and many other topics; streaming video of talks at the US Center at the annual international Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC; and other interesting resources.

United States Policy
  • Climate Change at the National Academies
    The National Academies of Science and of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council offer many clear, informative, and authoritative resources, including reports such as "Advancing the Science of Climate Change," "Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change," and "Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis."

  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    This section of the EPA's climate change website addresses the question "What is EPA Doing About Climate Change?" with information about regulations, voluntary programs, partnerships, and so on. Other offerings at the site include news and a breakdown of impacts and adaptations by region and some kinds of ecosystems.

  • US Global Change Research Program
    One-stop shopping for materials from 13 top-level federal agencies from this program whose job it is to integrate federal research on global change and climate change, including preparing (every four years) the National Climate Assessment. Also offers a regional breakdown of expected impacts from climate change.

Regional, State, and City Policy

Global Environmental Politics (Climate Change)
Michele Betsill, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University
This semester-long upper-division course is taught by Dr. Michele Betsill, Department of Political Science, Colorado State University. It focuses on "developing effective policy responses" to climate change, "one of the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century" and "a highly political process involving conflicts over competing values and interests."

Teaching Climate/Energy Law & Policy
Wil Burns, Johns Hopkins University
Run by the Associate Director of the Master in Energy Policy and Climate program at Johns Hopkins, this site (a blog, with extensive links) supports "those engaged in the teaching of law and policy courses focused on climate change and energy (primarily at the university, graduate and law school levels) by discussing pedagogy in this field, as well as sharing relevant resources and analysis of key issues. The scope of discussion includes scientific, political and legal issues pertinent to addressing climate change and energy production."

The Climate Change Novel: A Faulty Simulator of Environmental Politics
Adam Trexler, Policy Innovations, November 2011
A thought-provoking discussion of what recent novels about climate change can contribute to our thinking about various policy options for dealing with this issue, with a handful of examples drawn from Trexler's extensive reading in more than 200 novels on the topic. He notes that novels typically explore the "interrelated personal, aesthetic, social, and political choices people make as they react to changes in the climate around them" and concludes that "we need new ways of envisioning political alliances, blending technocratic and utopian aspects of policy." Policy Innovations is a publication of the Carnegie Council Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

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