Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Limiting Climate Change?

Climate change poses clear threats to human societies and natural ecosystems. The panel on Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change, part of the America's Climate Choices project, calls for the United States to respond to these threats by starting now to change the way we use and produce energy. In this video, several members of the panel discuss its conclusions, including a proposal for an emissions budget to guide U.S. policy as well as measures that might be taken to reach that budget's goals.

The National Research Council has issued three reports (Advancing the Science of Climate Change, Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change and Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change) examining how the nation can combat the effects of climate change. The reports are part of a Congressionally requested suite of five studies known as America's Climate Choices.

These resouces are promoted by the Citizens Climate Lobby. The report was sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, posting this video about 18 months ago. The published report is available at this site, and there's also a free summary download. While it takes a reasonable position on managing carbon emissions, it doesn't go nearly far or fast enough; the suggestions are tepid and there's no teeth behind the core strategies outlined. There don't seem to be any numerical carbon goals or any specific ways of attacking the issue in a coordinated fashion, such as the C&C strategy. At most, it recommends a carbon tax. What really needs to be rapidly implemented is a tax on fuel consumption and an immediate end to oil and coal subsidies, with a concerted shift to wind, thermal and solar power sources for net-zero development.

This report is a small step in the right direction. But the giant leap for mankind has not yet been made, tragically so.