Publication Date

5-2007

Committee Members

Mark Hamin, Chair

Comments

Three-Course Option - Final Paper

Abstract

Climate change and atmospheric warming are problems of global scale, significance, and impact and are arguably dealt with most effectively at the level of national and supra-national governance. The mixed success of the Kyoto Protocol demonstrated the importance of accommodating the needs and rights of nations with vastly different economic structures, development trends, and progress towards greenhouse gas reduction in order to reach a perception of fairness for and among all parties. Despite some progress, the goal of an effective international agreement to reduce carbon emissions and other greenhouse gas-contributing pollutants remains unfulfilled.

In the absence of a workable international framework for addressing global climate change, smaller agencies, both governmental and private, have begun taking proactive steps to reduce their share of pollutants, greenhouse gas-contributing and otherwise. Regional intergovernmental alliances, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), non-governmental agencies, such as ICLEI Global: Local Governments for Sustainability, and state and municipal governments, such as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Town of Amherst, Massachusetts, have acted upon the recognition that global environmental problems can be addressed at all levels through local initiatives, such as those that reduce energy demand through increased building and vehicle efficiency and those that reduce waste output through increased recycling.