You are here

Prof. Aseem Prakash on Forbes, "Wildfires, Heatwaves, And The IPCC Report: Yet Climate Policy Is Losing Steam"

Submitted by Stephen Dunne on August 16, 2021 - 12:09pm

Prof. Aseem Prakash and colleague Prof. Nives Dolšak note that though climate events are much in the news lately, climate policy-making is losing its momentum.

"The recent IPCC report is a grim reminder of the seriousness of the climate crisis. The wildfires in the Western United States and Canada, the zombie fires in Siberia, heatwaves in Southern Europe and the Pacific Northwest, and floods in Germany and China should motivate aggressive climate action...Disasters are supposed to focus policy attention, which political scientist John Kingdon described as opening the 'policy window.' As 'focusing events,' drastic weather episodes could create opportunities to enact new climate policies. But, of course, a lot depends on the skill of policy entrepreneurs. As Rahm Immanuel had famously noted, politicians should not allow a serious crisis to go to waste...yet, climate policy seems to be losing steam. The U.S. Senate has substantially slashed Biden’s proposal for new climate spending. China continues to build coal-fired electricity plants. Brazil has announced a plan to support its coal industry."

Why is Climate Policy Stalling?

"Additional issues are also contributing to climate policy lethargy. Humans have a limited attention span. Climate issues are getting neglected because the policy space is getting crowded by new and sensational non-climate issues. Taliban’s rapid advance in Afghanistan is stunning...Closer to home, the resurgence of COVID and the debate about masks and vaccines are igniting political passions. School and college reopening controversy will probably take a chunk of policy space and attention span."

Please link here for the full read.