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Articles by Robert Stavins

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.

Featured Article

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.”

Let’s place the climate negotiations in perspective

Why do I say (repeatedly, year after year) that the best goal for the climate talks is to make progress on a sound foundation for meaningful, long-term global action, not some notion of immediate triumph? The reason is that the often-stated cliche about the American baseball season — that it’s a marathon, not a sprint — applies even more so to international climate change policy. Why?

First, the focus... Read more

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