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Whither Global Climate-Change Talks? Whither Global Climate-Change Talks?

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Whither Global Climate-Change Talks?

Should international negotiators abandon the top-down multilateral system to confront climate change and find another way?

The 18th installment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is now in its second and final week in Doha, Qatar, the country with--ironically--the world's highest per capita carbon emissions. Expectations that negotiators will strike a grand bargain by week's end are very low, but a lot is at stake nonetheless. The Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement signed in 1997 that set binding greenhouse-gas reductions for more than three dozen countries, expires at year's end. (The United States failed to ratify that agreement). Some experts hope that negotiators can come up with some agreement to preserve some of the reduction accomplishments achieved under Kyoto.

Realistically, what can negotiators accomplish by week's end? What other forms of agreement could nations, global organizations, or regions construct that could serve to combat global warming? Should President Obama take a stronger leadership role in this process?

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