On December 11, the UN Climate Change conference in Paris (called COP-21) will be wrapping up, and the headlines will announce if the negotiators were able to agree to save the Earth or not. Todd Stern, the U.S. State Department's Special Envoy for Climate Change, will be leading the U.S. delegation at COP-21.
Many observers have low expectations, given that the UN requires unanimity from nation-states, fossil fuel interests have political control in so many nations, and the convention itself seems to have given up on an international treaty and is focusing instead on adding up nationally adopted actions.
International climate negotiators seem to have given up on a treaty, and their floundering around with unenforceable pledges seems unlikely to result in an outcome that will allow countries to transform their economies away from fossil fuels and provide equitable sustainable development for the majority of humanity.
By capping carbon emissions, selling permits, and returning the resulting revenue to everyone equally, this "Cap and Dividend" approach achieves the greenhouse gas reductions climate scientists tell us we need to prevent the dangerous consequences of climate change while boosting the purchasing power of American consumers.
In the next month, millions of Californians will receive their first "climate credit." The funds come from the revenue collected by the cap and trade program under the State's climate change law. Instead of going to pay for government programs or rebates, the money is going back to you. That is pretty unusual.
The first Indiana Jones movie opens with our hero having his prize stolen from him by a rival archeologist. No one remembers that the statue actually belongs to the Peruvian tribespeople. In 2013, Californians are witnessing an allegory with the repeated raiding of the revenues from the carbon price under state law AB32 that should be theirs.