09 December 2007

Why We Care About Global Warming

We Can Challenge Climate Change

We who participate in this site probably believe things like this:
  • There are lots of critical issues and concerns we could be active about, but addressing climate change is the most pressing.
    • Yes, I too am concerned about people who don't pick up after their dogs, war, poverty, the problems of our educational system, political venality, corruption, the Doha round, the high costs of health care, the upcoming or recently past election, and a lot of other things. But the potential impact of global climate change dominates all of these.
  • If we all stay on the greenhouse-gas-emissions path we are on today, then by 2050 global warming will certainly have passed 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. As we pass 2° and head toward 3°, 4° or even 5° of warming major disruption of global and regional climate and economic systems becomes inevitable. We don't want to go there.
  • It is not too late. If we can reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to 50% of 1990 levels by 2050 then the climate should reach equilibrium at about 2°C above preindustrial levels.
    • Since the emissions of the developing world will continue to increase inexorably for the next decade or two before they can start to fall, the developed world will have to cut emissions very deeply. Rich countries will have to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels. Eventually developing countries will have to cut their emissions to 20% below 1990 levels.
    • This makes sense, since developed countries emit much more today than developing countries do, when measured on a per capita basis. But even if the developed countries cut their emissions to zero, continuing increases in developing country emissions would push us past the 2° mark by mid-century. And the people of developing countries generally have the most to lose from uncontrolled global warming.
  • We can't wait for politicians to act for us on this. We must lead by taking action ourselves to reduce emissions associated with our lifestyles, our companies and their products, and our cities and towns.
  • Action must be timely and effective. There is no more time to waste on boondoggles.
  • One purpose of this site is to bring together meaningful analysis, information, and recommendations to enable people and businesses to take concrete steps to challenge climate change.

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