It’s deja vu all over again reading George Will (“Another false ‘turning point’,” Dec. 17) and Charles Krauthammer (“Obama’s legacy of fiction,” Dec. 18) whine about efforts to address climate change. Neither one considers the science or the history. In this case, it’s history worth repeating, not avoiding.
When the world faced the destruction of stratospheric ozone, 12 countries sat down in 1977 to plan how to negotiate a planet-wide pact. It took 10 years, and the outcome was the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, signed by just 24 countries. Its strength was flexibility, proven in the eight revisions made since 1987.
Now 197 countries are party to a protocol that includes monitoring, reporting and, critically, sanctions for noncompliance. Most important, it’s working, as the rates of emissions of ozone-depleting chemicals have dropped, and since 2000, the ozone layer has begun its slow process of recovery.
International agreements can succeed in addressing a global environmental crisis. The fits and starts seen in the attempts to address climate change might work faster if those with a monetary or political stake in burning fossil fuels would cease their misinformation campaigns, aided by the head-in-the-sand antics of Will and Krauthammer.