29 July 2009

On "Magical Solutions"

I have a commentary up over at Yale Environment360. Here is how I begin:
Fifty years ago, political scientist Harold Lasswell explained that some policies are all about symbolism, with little or no impact on real-world outcomes. He called such actions “magical solutions,” explaining that “political symbolization has its catharsis functions.” Climate policy is going through exactly such a phase, in which a focus on magical solutions leaves little room for the practical.
Please visit Yale e360 and read it, and then come back. You are welcome to leave comments (positive or negative) here or there. I'll be happy to answer any questions.

PS. Some of the data in the essay about Japan's climate policy proposals comes from a paper of mine just submitted. If you would like a copy, please send me an email request:

Pielke, Jr. R. A. 2009 (under review). Mamizu Climate Policy: An Evaluation of Japanese Carbon Emissions Reduction Targets, Environmental Research Letters.