Classroom Resources: The Vision Thing

By Ted Nordhaus & Michael Shellenberger
October-December 2007 / Vol. 8 No. 4

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Discussion Questions

  • The authors describe the politics of global warming as “timid”.  What do they mean with this choice of words? What is the nature of the authors’ objection to the approach taken by Blair in his 2005 Davos speech? Why do you think Blair might have chosen the approach that he did, and what do you think of his speech?
  • Visit the websites listed below for the US-based 1 Sky initiative and the UK-based Campaign Against Climate Change. What are some of the differences in the goals and approaches offered by these two organizations? In the long run, which do you think will be most effective in addressing global warming, and why?
  • Review the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” Is the tone of the movie visionary and positive, or academic and defensive, or a bit of both? If you were making your own movie, which strategy would you rely upon?
  • While Churchill’s speech on the “United States of Europe” (http://www.peshawar.ch/varia/winston.htm) may have been visionary, it is important to remember that many aspects of a European Union took almost 50 years to achieve. What do you think is the best way to inspire and move people to act on addressing climate change in a timely manner?

Websites for Further Information

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: http://www.ipcc.ch/
  • The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: http://unfccc.int/
  • 1 Sky http://www.1sky.org/
  • Campaign Against Climate Change: http://www.campaigncc.org/
  • Warming is seen as wiping out most polar bears (New York Times, September 8th, 2007): http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/08/science/earth/08polar.html

Climate Change Policy Response in the News

  • Warning against ‘gloom and doom’ scenarios, under-Secretary-General says; international community has tools to combat climate change (press release, 2007, 61st General Assembly of the United Nations): http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2007/ga10609.doc.htm
  • Gloom and Doom on A Sunny Day(Washington Post, June 25, 2007): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/24/AR2007062401374.html
  • A Carbon Cap That Starts in Washington (New York Times, December 16, 2007): http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/16/business/16view.html

Key Concepts

  • Global warming
  • Climate policy

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