Guest posting at Opinio Juris, climate expert Nigel Purvis answers a very tricky question — indeed, what may prove to be the trickiest — about U.S. efforts to slow climate change. Here’s the problem in a nutshell:
U.S. domestic legislation must contribute to a genuine global solution but global arrangements must also fit or alter domestic political realities.
Every country, in fact, is going to have to align what is practically achievable in their domestic political systems to what is needed to stop global warming. It’s just particularly tough in the United States, both because segments of our political system are so vehemently opposed to action on climate change and because our impact on the global environment has dwarfed that of any other country. Purvis’ solution? It gets wonky, but the point is to synch up U.S. domestic and international legislation. Both are going to be tinkered, and the ultimate effectiveness of both will depend on future commitments and the rest of the world meeting its end of the bargain. An all-encompassing treaty, therefore — which would also require a 2/3 vote in the Senate, rather than a simple majority in both houses — would be more difficult to pass, less likely to match U.S. legislation, and possibly less effective.
It’s unrealistic to think Congress has the time and attention to take up domestic legislation and an international agreement separately (in whatever order). It is even more unrealistic to assume that an international treaty would be consistent with U.S. legislation and congressional wishes unless Congress has created in advance a process that helps ensure this alignment. In twenty years of climate diplomacy neither Congress nor the Senate has given the President of the World a clear blueprint for U.S. global leadership on climate change…America needs a well-defined plan for climate cooperation and that plan should have the force of law.
I encourage you to read the whole post.
Having trouble putting together the two ideas of “cap” and “trade”? Check out this NPR segment, replete with a clip from Dude, Where’s My Car?, that compares cap and trade with a hypothetical system for limiting the usage of the word “dude.” I’m not really sure this simplifies the concept, nor that it even needs simplification.
As far as dude examples go, I much prefer…well, the Dude, not the millionaire, duder, his dudeness, or el duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.
Regarding the below, this is really the better video, but the title is not family friendly.
Wednesday night, the Bosnian television program “60 Minutes” broadcast videos of former Serb general Ratko Mladic, who has been indicted to join his former political leader, Radovan Karadzic, at the International Criminal Tribunal for the forme Yugoslavia in The Hague. Unlike Karadzic, whose elaborate disguise was finally found out last year, Mladic is widely believed to have been living in the open and with the collusion of Serb authorities for the past decade-plus. This allegation would seem to be supported by the videos, some of which the “60 Minutes” producer claims are less than two years old.
Serbia, though, denies that any of them could be “less than eight years old.” At particular issue, among videos showing Mladic dancing, toasting at a wedding, and getting in a snowball fight, is one depicting him playing table tennis at an army barracks, which is one of the locations he is reputed to have been spending time in the past few years. This was confirmed a couple days ago, when one of Mladic’s former bodyguards attested to have been protecting him at the barracks, under Serb government orders, between 1997 and 2002.
The court in The Hague says that it already has the videos that were shown on Bosnian television. And the broadcast does seem suspiciously timed; on Monday, EU foreign ministers are scheduled to discuss Serbia’s cooperation with the Hague tribunal and the search for Mladic, which has been an important condition in Serbia’s push for EU membership.
Could Bosnia be seeking to cast doubt on Serbia’s commitment to finding Mladic, in hopes of undermining its EU bid? It’s entirely possible. But it was also widey — and reasonably — suspected, even before his former bodyguard’s recent testimony, that Mladic has spent a long time living under at least quasi-government protection. This Serb government is more committed to joining the EU than its predecessors, but it faces the same quandary, in that Mladic, unfortunately, remains a popular figure among segments of the Serb population. Mladic should be even easier to arrest than the heavily disguised Karadzic, though, so Serbia should make sure that he is not spending his days playing ping-pong in army barracks.
(image from flickr user leasing2008 under a Creative Commons license)
Today’s the big day, and turnout seems to be high (which experts have emphasized would likely be a boon to Ahmadinejad’s opponent, Mir Hossein Moussavi):
Why we shouldn’t be surprised that a kid in Africa in the 1980′s grew up watching The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show.
Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi makes the worthwhile point that, while attention is focused on the Iranian elections, the country’s human rights record remains far below par.
Conserving trees for money can be a messy business.
Again from The Economist, a pretty even-handed report card marking the halfway point of Ban Ki-moon’s tenure.
(image from flickr user Steve Rhodes under a Creative Commons license)
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.