Seven steps to curb global warming

John Mathews*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Based on best current estimates that the world needs to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by 70% by 2050, and that there is at best a 10-year window of opportunity available to initiate the enormous changes needed, this paper proposes a set of seven self-contained steps that can be taken at a global level to tackle the problem with some prospect of success. The steps are self-financing and practicable, in that they are based on existing technologies. They involve agreement to create a new international agency charged with formulating and policing a global carbon pricing regime; a complementary step involving global monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions utilizing satellite resources; taking steps to compensate developing countries for preserving rainforest as carbon sinks; the dismantling of newly created trade barriers holding back global trade in biofuels; global promotion of a transition to renewable sources of electricity through facilitation of grid interconnections with independent power producers; a global moratorium on the building of new coal-fired power stations; and recycling of carbon revenues to promote uptake of renewable energy sources in developing countries, particularly Brazil, India and China. Taken as a group, it is argued that these steps are both necessary and sufficient. They call for institutional innovations at a global level that are politically difficult but feasible, given the magnitude of the problems addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4247-4259
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • Carbon pricing
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Renewable energy sources


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