WNPR

Fighting Climate Change Could Involve Changing Your Lifestyle

Jun 23, 2015

In 1997, more than 180 nations signed the Kyoto Protocol. The idea was clear and ambitious: Begin the process of saving the planet from global warming. The Kyoto protocol outlined what were thought to be realistic guidelines for reducing greenhouse gas emissions among developed nations. In the nearly 20 years since the protocol was signed, climate change has showed few indications of slowing.

Today, there are signs of renewed attention towards to the problem. In a remarkable 180-page encyclical written by Pope Francis, the Catholic Church outlines a new position on global warming in which people around the world are called upon to "recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming..."

And it's not just the Pope that's taking a stand. The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC is expected to take place in December 2015, in Paris, France. It is widely expected that from this conference will emerge an even more robust and unified approach to combating climate change than came out of Kyoto.

But what might this new approach look like? How will it account for the problem of nations who either choose not to abide by the new agreements or who agree to abide but later reconsider (as happened with the Kyoto protocols). And what can be done to discourage the "freerider problem" in which non-participating nations benefit from the sacrifices of other, more climate-minded nations, and therefore have no self-interested reason for making sacrifices of their own?

Clearly the problem of mitigating climate change is complex in its geo-political, economic and scientific intricacies. Today we speak with experts on the forefront of exploring new an innovative ways of approaching what is nothing short of an impending global crisis.

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Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.