This paper arises from a meeting convened by the LSE in February 2010 to consider the implications of developments in climate policy in late 2009.

The Hartwell meeting was a private meeting, held under the Chatham House Rule. It included participants from various disciplines in the sciences and humanities, from academic and other walks of life and from around the world.

The resulting Hartwell Paper is the third in a series to have been co-published in a collaboration between London and Oxford. In 2007, Professor Steve Rayner and I published The Wrong Trousers: Radically Rethinking Climate Policy, and an associated summary of some of the main arguments in Nature ('Time to ditch Kyoto', 449, 25 October). This was followed in July 2009, with a larger circle of co-authorship, by 'How to get climate policy back on course'. That circle has changed and expanded further for the present work.

The Mackinder Programme at the LSE exists to delve into the deeper driving forces of events, which may, like a volcano, produce sudden eruptions but which are different from and more than the accumulated visible clouds of smoke and ash. It is concerned with the magma and the tectonic plates - the geopolitics, including especially the many cultural dimensions - of events.

Accordingly, the purpose of the Hartwell meeting was to take a long view of all the aspects of the crisis which enveloped global climate policy during the winter of 2009/10. Many of us were not surprised that climate diplomacy had crashed: we had been predicting this for some time. Other aspects were less expected. Therefore, in early February 2010 we sought to discover to what degree we shared an understanding of what had gone on and why; but especially, we sought in discussion and concretely in this paper, to look forward and to recommend productive courses of action.

The School is grateful for financial support from the Japan Iron and Steel Federation and the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, the Nathan Cummings Foundation (NCF), New York and the Fondation Hoffmann, Geneva which made this meeting and project possible. We have a special debt to Peter Teague, Program Director at NCF, for his advice and help. None of the funders necessarily endorses any or all of the resulting paper, of course. As convenor, I am grateful to colleagues in the Research Project & Development Division and in the Office of Development & Alumni Relations at LSE who nimbly and efficiently helped to put together and to manage the support for this work.

I am also extremely grateful to my colleague Johanna Möhring, Visiting Fellow in the Mackinder Programme, and to Dalibor Rohac, Weidenfeld Scholar at the University of Oxford, for assisting me in the conduct of the Hartwell meeting. Michael Denton and the staff at Hartwell House deserve our thanks for providing us with peaceful surroundings in which to meet and for ensuring that the conference-calling all worked faultlessly to enable us to include in the discussions Indian and Chinese colleagues who were not able to be present in person. Finally, I wish to express my thanks to all co-authors for their collegial and intensive engagement.

G. Prins
London School of Economics
April 2010