50 Years of Climate Concern


Scientists started raising the alarm over climate change more than 60 years ago. Since then, societal decision-makers have sought to tackle climate change using the strategies successfully deployed to tackle other environmental problems, from air pollution and oil spills to the ozone hole. These approaches tend to follow a common path, including scientific studies, national or international panels and conferences, followed by national and international policies and measures intended to tackle the problem. This approach was successful via the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts in the United States, as well as the success (still in process) of national and international efforts to close the ozone hole.

But this strategy hasn't worked for climate change. Despite a vast number of studies and conferences, and a growing worldwide array of policies and measures, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have increased dramatically since scientists began raising the climate change alarm. So have concerns regarding the future. A decade ago dangerous climate change was described as a “future problem”; today, climate change is commonly described as a "here and now" problem.

Any effort to understand how climate change will evolve as a future business issue will benefit from an understanding of what’s been tried to date, and what’s succeeded or failed when it comes to tackling climate change. This section of Your Climate Change MBA lets you explore the topic through a series of lenses, including:

  • A chronology of the global effort to tackle climate change
  • A chronology of business responses to climate change
  • The impacts of U.S. political polarization on climate outcomes
  • Societal vs. business thinking about climate change
  • The focus on quantitative emissions targets in international negotiations
  • The reliance on market mechanisms in tackling climate change

This section of Your Climate Change MBA will help you put efforts to tackle climate change to date into a larger context that will help you in exploring how efforts to tackle climate change may evolve in the future.