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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Climate Change: Causes, Consequences, and How to Respond

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Diana Liverman explores the theoretical positions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions including “earth-system management”, cap and trade policies, individual and community behavioral change, political economy of carbon governance (“carbon capitalism”), and government regulation and incentives. She supports a blending of the last three to produce “political ecology”. Liverman is critical of the Kyoto Accords but argues in favor of the Clean Development Mechanism [CDM] with some significant adjustments and much clearer analysis of how much carbon offsets truly reduce greenhouse gases. She limns out the limitations of CDM as well as implications for relations between the Global North and South.

Glen MacDonald weighs the various arguments and models for climate change noting their strengths and weaknesses. He finds arguments that human activity has heightened CO2 levels in the atmosphere more compelling than those of skeptics. However, science still has not become capable of modeling carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere with certitude. He ends his talk with a discussion of the relationship between climate change and ongoing droughts in the subtropics.

The accompanying audio files provide the complete recording of the two talks.

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Liverman and MacDonald talk