December 22, 2007

Can We Get Shrill Now?

Joseph Romm reviewed the latest IPCC report and says its time to get deadly serious about dealing with global warming. He notes that the scientists are deeply worried and this should be something that concerns us all. Emphasizing the climatic effects that will be felt by Americans, he concludes that the next president must make this issue their top domestic policy issue or we are all seriously doomed.

Because of Bush's refusal to act seriously on greenhouse gas emissions, coupled with the accelerating reality of global warming, the future is fairly easy to predict. Either the next president makes enacting a national emissions reduction plan his or her top domestic priority -- and then makes an international agreement that includes China our top international priority -- or we will eliminate the possibility of stabilizing at 450 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide, and we will risk crossing thresholds that might ultimately take us to double that level.

Then, in 2012 or 2013, the IPCC will issue yet another report, the Fifth Assessment, in which the world's scientists will tell us, "We really meant what we said in all those other reports. Plus, it's even worse now because emissions are higher, so reductions would have to be far faster and deeper, and we've modeled the ice sheets better, so we're easily facing 3 feet of sea level rise by 2100, and we've modeled the carbon cycle feedbacks better, so the tolerable level of emissions is even lower than we thought in 2007."

By then, our ability to solve the climate problem the market-friendly way will have all but disappeared, and we will need a World War II-scale effort to avoid the ever-approaching catastrophe. By the end of the next decade, it won't just be climate scientists who are desperate, it will be all of us.

What are you doing to make sure this topic is getting the attention it needs? Does your candidate take this problem seriously enough?

Posted by Mary at December 22, 2007 11:54 AM | Environment | Technorati links |