- Initiatives to reduce carbon emissions have fallen short
- Often these efforts have unforeseen, negative consequences
- Market forces have had a bigger impact than policy on cutting emissions
- Fossil fuels will be the dominant source of energy for decades to come
GIS “Dossiers” aim to give our subscribers a quick overview of key topics, regions or conflicts based on a selection of our experts’ reports since 2011. This survey is devoted to efforts to mitigate climate change. Usually, these initiatives have proven ineffective, had negative consequences, or both. Significant progress in reducing emissions can be made, but it will require world leaders to embrace – not reject – new fossil fuel technologies.
Since the 1990s, climate change has been a major issue shaping geopolitics. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), adopted in 1992, aims to limit greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere to prevent dangerous effects to the global climate system. Since then, there have been numerous attempts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide (CO2), with varying degrees of success. Perhaps the most famous was the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set binding targets for reductions in CO2 emissions. But developing countries were exempt from the targets and many developing countries withdrew from, only partially implemented or never ratified the agreement.