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In global climate change fight, what can we learn from Kyoto?

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Oded Balilty/AP/File

(Read caption) A miner shovels coal in mine in Xiahuayuan county in north China's Hebei province. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol did not induce the US, China, or India to cut emissions.

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The climate challenge drives home the interdependent realities of the 21st Century, and there have been some tough lessons learned since Kyoto. All of this ties in to energy issues that shape domestic politics and complex geopolitical realities.

To help us look into these issues and more we spoke with David Shorr. David is a program officer at the Stanley Foundation, though the views expressed are his own. He blogs at Democracy Arsenal and can be followed on Twitter @David_Shorr

In an exclusive interview with, Shorr discusses:

•    Why a binding climate treaty poses problems
•    What we’ve learned since Kyoto
•    Why climate change financing is a key issue
•    Why climate change is a geopolitical issue
•    How Iran fits into the energy equation
•    Why the US is stuck over Syria
•    Why Afghanistan was the biggest recent US policy blunder

Interview by James Stafford of

James Stafford: Can you take us through the international response to climate change and some of the positive and negative effects of a legally binding Kyoto follow-on treaty? 

David Shorr: The bottom line for climate change, and thus for any international agreement, is reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. How can levels of pollutants be cut to avoid the worst effects of climate change?  Like many problems in our interconnected world, it’s a matter of spurring nations to act on behalf of the common good -- to bear in mind not just national self-interests but also shared interests in averting climatic disruptions that would be bad for everyone.


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