Why we can ignore Rio, Copenhagen and Kyoto

Summits like Rio 20 only serve to hinder efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as they solidify the false notion that reducing emissions requires global co-ordination to avoid economic disadvantage.

The Rio 20 Earth Summit will as usual generate a whole lot of media ‘hoo-ha’ about the inability of the world to come to a meaningful agreement on controlling global environmental problems such as climate change. But, at least in relation to climate change, these types of mass international conferences have become an incredible distraction. They actually undermine rather than support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even if they might be worthwhile for other environmental issues.

This is because they reinforce a false belief that reducing carbon emissions must be closely internationally co-ordinated to avoid major trade and therefore economic disadvantages for any individual nation that acts to reduce emissions.

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