Photo: DG EMPL Cross-posted from An Economic View of the Environment. Two weeks of international climate negotiations begin today in Durban, South Africa. These are the Seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP 17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) [PDF]. The key challenge at this point is to maintain the process of building a sound foundation for meaningful, long-term global action, not necessarily some notion of immediate, highly visible triumph. In other words, the answer to the question of whether the Durban climate negotiations can succeed depends -- not surprisingly -- on how one defines "success." …
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Robert N. Stavins is the Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government, Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, and Chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Faculty Group at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.