We live like kings. At least that’s what most of the world thinks of Americans, economic downturn notwithstanding. And humanity throughout history would see us the same way. How did we get to the quality of life that would make emperors jealous? We got here with fossil fuels, and lots of them. The energy sector accounts for many trillions of dollars a year in the world economy.
What can we expect out of any agreement in Copenhagen? We can look at the example of Kyoto, and see that nations will find any number of accounting loopholes to get out of meeting … More >
A year or two ago, people expected Copenhagen to produce the equivalent of the Kyoto Protocol – a comprehensive climate roadmap for the next decade or more. It seems unlikely that the Copenhagen meeting will live up to those expectations, although there’s always the chance of a last-minute surprise.
What does seem clear, however, is that progress is being made on many fronts. Within the U.S., states like California are charging ahead, the federal courts remain active, and the Obama Administration is proposing CO2 regulations under the existing Clean Air Act. Congress is inching its way toward a … More >
The world and the US need a victory on climate – but thankfully important innovations taking place in both the science and policy worlds offer hope that climate protection and economic productivity could be brought together to serve both. More >
Something will be agreed upon in Copenhagen…the real issue is whether or not it will be effective in dealing with the enormous threat to civilization posed by sea level rise, drought and famine, ecosystem destruction, and other consequences of climate warming. My concern is that action in Copenhagen will simply take the form of agreement on one or the other of the two types of target currently being discussed: keeping the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere below some critical value, say 400 parts per million, or keeping the temperature increase below some critical value, say 2 degrees Celsius. Targets … More >
The global population is 6 billion and our collective use of fossil fuels — coal, oil, and natural gas — releases to the atmosphere about 6 billion tons of carbon in the form of carbon dioxide every year. Under “business as usual,” emissions will continue to rise, perhaps tripling by the end of this century. That trajectory would very likely cause major climate disruption with a high probability of serious ecological damage. The resulting strains on our infrastructure would be huge, with grave risks to our economic and political systems. Conversely, to limit the atmospheric carbon dioxide level to no … More >