The recent news about climate change in the U.S. has been dominated by the EPA appeals panel's decision to block a coal plant's permit, which has stopped permitting of about 100 U.S. coal plants until the Obama administration can decide what to do about them.
But this press release (via Michael Tobis) struck me as being quite important too. Countries are agreeing to destroy stocks of CFCs, which cause global warming, under the Montreal Protocol, which was designed to address stratospheric ozone depletion. The end effect could be quite significant: 6 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalents with possibly more later.
As I wrote before, I'm not going to deal with global warming denialism with regard to science -- there will always be Flat Earthers. But there's a more subtle form of denialism that says that we can't do anything about global warming. This manifests itself, among other ways, in a conviction that countries can't agree to manage their infrastructure: their national interests will differ too much, or it will be too expensive, or, if they agree, they'll cheat. The Montreal Protocol is a standing rebuke to those people. In fact, the Montreal Protocol has worked as I expect global warming agreements to -- once people make a commitment to change an industry, it can change quite quickly, and people naturally use the new infrastructure without a lot of voluntary coaxing or permit trading. The CFC stocks planned to be destroyed are being destroyed because once people built alternatives, no one really needs them.
Update: and see this (via John Quiggin). I expect that market mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions will prove to be just as reliable and well-behaved as every other market just now.