The writer is director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government At the foot of the Eqi Glacier in Greenland in June, I watched ice formed thousands of years ago drop into the warming ocean. With this vivid depiction of climate change in my mind, I was disappointed that neither of the conferences held last month to prepare for the UN’s upcoming COP28 summit had produced any real breakthroughs. However, while the need for climate action is rising, the stakes for COP, perhaps counter-intuitively, look to be diminishing. An underwhelming COP28 would be a missed opportunity but it may not be a tragedy. Twenty or even 10 years ago, it was reasonable to hope a co-operative approach could address climate. But it is no longer a realistic expectation — nor the most promising route for progress.
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