Stephen M. Walt on climate change

Who is full of hot air on climate change?
Foreign Policy, “A Realist in an Ideological Age” blog
July 23, 2012
Commentary by: Stephen M. Walt, member of the Belfer Center Board of Directors and Harvard Kennedy School’s Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Affairs
Topic: Climate change

“It’s summer, and a searing drought is shriveling corn fields in the Midwest. Meanwhile torrential rains (the worst in 60 years) have killed several dozen people in Beijing. Sea ice continues to shrink in the arctic — the decline in June was the largest in the satellite record — creating new sea areas for the Coast Guard to patrol. Welcome to climate change 2012.

But how serious is the problem? How worried should you be? I don’t know, because I’m neither an atmospheric physicist, environmental economist, nor specialist in global institutions designed to address collective goods (or negative externalities). Nonetheless, I do try to stay informed on this issue, and I occasionally use the case of climate change to illustrate certain features of international politics to my students. And what makes it frustrating for a layperson like me is the range of opinion one can find even among well-informed journalists.”

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