The Economist Debate

The United States and Climate Change

Proposition:  "The United States will solve the climate change problem"

The United States is the world's largest consumer of oil and largest producer of greenhouse gases.  Its consumption of resources is unmatched, even in nations with quadruple the population.  And despite a broad international consensus about the climate change challenge, the U.S. has refused to adopt serious domestic emissions-control measures or to support international efforts to curb climate change such as the Kyoto Protocol.  Will this stance continue when President George Bush leaves office?   Will the bipartisan addiction to oil in the U.S. prove impossible to cure?  Will the U.S. continue to be a bigger part of the problem than the solution?  Or will technological innovation and entrepreneurship change the dynamics of this issue?  On Thursday 27 March 2008, join Vijay Vaitheeswaran, Global Correspondent for The Economist, for a debate about leadership on climate change.  Two teams of two experts each will participate in an Oxford-style debate on the proposition "The United States will solve the climate change problem".

IN FAVOR of the proposition:

David Victor is Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and Director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.

Vinod Khosla, formerly a General Partner at Kleiner Perkins and Founder of Sun Microsystems, founded the Khosla Ventures in 2004.

AGAINST the proposition:

Daniel Esty is the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, with appointments in both Yale Law School and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He is also the Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy.

Michael Grubb is Chief Economist at the UK Carbon Trust and Senior Research Associate in the Cambridge University Faculty of Economics.  He is a leading international researcher on economic, technology and policy aspects of climate change and related energy issues.


Vijay V. Vaitheeswaran is an MIT-trained engineer who spent ten years covering energy and environment issues for The Economist. He is the author of Power to the People: How the Coming Energy Revolution Will Transform an Industry, Change our Lives and Maybe Even Save the Planet from Farrar (Straus & Giroux) and most recently Zoom: the Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future (Twelve books).

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