Are We Negotiating the Wrong Climate Treaty?

12:00 pm on Friday, March 1, 2013
1:00 pm on Friday, March 1, 2013
Contact Name:
Jean van Seventer
This seminar continues the Department of Environmental Health’s 2012-2013 seminar series, Climate Change: Science, Health, and Policy. Despite over 20 years of unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a pollution control treaty to address climate change, diplomats persist in this unproductive strategy. They speak of burden sharing, continue to argue over blame, and call for equitable use of the atmosphere as a waste dump for heat trapping gases. Dr. Moomaw argues that this approach will never succeed in getting a viable agreement since it is based upon a lack of trust and a sense that this is "not my problem to solve." In this seminar, he discusses using negotiations theory that diplomacy needs to shift from burden bearing to opportunity sharing. Focusing on low carbon, clean energy services for all levels of development provides one track for doing so. Bill Moomaw is Professor of International Environmental Policy and Director of the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy at The Fletcher School. He received his BA in Chemistry from Williams College in chemistry and a PhD in physical chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following a 26-year career in chemistry and environmental science at Williams College, he began working on climate change and other global issues including water, forests, agriculture and energy, and has published many papers in those fields. He served as a science fellow in the US Senate where he worked on ozone depletion and energy policy. He as a co-author of the Massachusetts state report on Visioning Forest Futures in 2010 and on climate change adaptation in 2011. He has been an author of 5 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports including the Renewable Energy and Climate Change Report published in January 2012. The IPCC was recognized by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee for its climate work in 2007. He serves on the boards of several organizations including The Nature Conservancy of Massachusetts, The Climate Group, Woods Hole Research Center and the Consensus Building Institute. He and his wife, Margot competed a zero net energy solar home in western Massachusetts in 2007.