Guy Raz speaks with Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy for climate change. He talks about what will — and won't — be accomplished at the U.N. climate talks in Durban, South Africa. Stern predicts no binding agreement to reduce carbon emissions will come out of these talks. He says that's because developing countries such as China and India are not prepared to agree to reductions that would treat developing and developed nations equally. Stern points to the previous round of U.N. talks as having produced an important nonbinding agreement and says all the nations involved are taking that agreement seriously.
The 1997 treaty was supposed to be a first step toward more ambitious actions on climate change. But it's now on the brink of fading into irrelevance as unified, global actions on climate policy have been almost nonexistent.
Windows treated with an insulating film are twice as efficient as regular double-pane windows, since they block heat from entering a building. That's useful on warm days, but inefficient when it's cold. One lab is researching a new coating that could be turned on and off with an electrical current.
A presidential pledge to reduce emissions two years ago went nowhere in Congress. Today, the U.S. is spewing more carbon dioxide than ever into the atmosphere. Without meaningful U.S. action on emissions, a global pact seems unlikely to emerge from U.N. climate talks under way in Durban, South Africa.
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