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Capital Transitioning: An International Human Capital Strategy for Climate Innovation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 November 2016

Shi-Ling Hsu*
Affiliation:
Florida State University College of Law, Tallahassee, FL (United States (US)). Email: shsu@law.fsu.edu.

Abstract

One question left unanswered by the 2015 Paris Agreement is exactly how the world will meet the daunting technological challenges that lie ahead. This article proposes a global strategy to build up human capital oriented towards two bodies of knowledge: alternative, non-fossil systems of energy generation, delivery and consumption; and a deeper understanding of climate systems that might be geoengineered to reduce atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Simply committing funding to climate technology is insufficient; a global climate technology policy must take into account the unique growth properties of human capital, and the conditions under which it can grow.

Human capital should be the focus of an international climate agreement for three reasons. Firstly, the wrong kind of human capital (attached to fossil fuel-related methods of energy generation and consumption) has helped to create an unfavourable political economy for climate policy. Secondly, the right kind of human capital (broader, and building on fundamental understandings of energy systems and climate systems) can create a more favourable political economy for climate policy. Thirdly, the technological changes needed for both mitigation and geoengineering technologies are so profound that a human capital stock must be developed with a conscious focus on radical technological change that can be delivered quickly. While individual countries may pursue an enlightened human capital policy on their own, cooperation at the international level would maximize the scale economies of inventive effort.

Type
Articles
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press 2016 

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Footnotes

For their help and comments, the author would like to thank Jaqueline Peel, workshop attendees at the University of Oregon School of Law, Eugene, OR (US) and at the joint workshop of the International Environmental Law Section of the American Society of International Law and the University of Minnesota Energy Transition Lab, Minneapolis, MN (US), and three anonymous reviewers for TEL. The author would especially like to thank Mary McCormick and the always exceptional library staff at the Florida State University College of Law.

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43 Ibid.

44 Ibid.

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85 N. 1 above.

86 New York, NY (US) 9 May 1992, in force 21 Mar. 1994, available at: https://unfccc.int, Art. 4(5).

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91 Ibid., pp. 202–4.

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93 Ibid., pp. 279–83.

94 Ibid., p. 261.

95 Ibid., p. 262.

96 Ibid., pp. 163–70.

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101 Ibid., p. 153.

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109 Ibid., p. 81.

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116 Stone, n. 2 above.

117 N. 1 above, Art. 10(2).

118 Cancun Agreement, UN Doc. No. FCCC/CP/2010/7/Add.1, 15 Mar. 2011, paras 117–28, available at: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2010/cop16/eng/07a01.pdf.

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121 Ibid., p. 458.

122 Ibid., p. 457.

123 CGIAR, ‘Who We Are’, available at: http://www.cgiar.org/who-we-are.

124 CGIAR, ‘Financial Highlights 2014’, available at: http://annualreports.cgiar.org/finance.

125 CGIAR, ‘Fund Council Membership 2013–2015’, available at: http://www.cgiar.org/who-we-are/cgiar-fund/fundcouncil/membership.

126 CGIAR, ‘Our Research Centers’, available at: http://www.cgiar.org/cgiar-consortium/research-centers.

127 De Coninck & Bhasin, n. 120 above, p. 457.

128 Cancun Agreement, n. 118 above, Art. 123.

129 Gertner, n. 89 above, p. 27.

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