I plan to use this site to post news, commentary, and analysis of current environment and development issues. Of course, I reserve the right to rant about politics now and then.
It seems like just about every week or so, a new report is released that explicates in a highly detailed, nuanced, and complex way the causes and consequences of global warming. Unfortunately, I fear, many of these publications are intellectually inaccessible to the average American, and so they often just get read by a narrow circle of academics who already agree with the consensus position. Out of curiosity, are there any researchers out there who publish reports on global warming that are intended to reach a mass audience? After all, I think that there are very few people who are willing and able to sit down and read 166 pages of high-brow biochemistry research punctuated by high-brow econometric analysis. However, I'm guessing that countless Americans - without any background in economics, science, or public policy - would be interested in reading a report by a well-respected institution like the UN or the IPCC if it could explain global warming in a simple, clear, and coherent way. Anyway, just a thought...
I'm glad to hear that United Nations has finally met to listen to scientists! I think the idea mentioned in the article of leveling off emissions by 2015 or 2020 and then cutting them back from there is a good idea. I think an ease into the changes that must occur to prevent pollution is the best way. This gives people time to adapt and change their habits (especially the bad ones!) This also allows time for a plan to be made in terms of alternative sources of energy. We have many options out there, its choosing the best one or combination of energy sources. I do not think one type of energy will save us, but instead a mixture of sources. The article talks about the money that is currently being spent on energy technology. I agree that the US, nor the world is spending enough on R&D for technologies or more efficient forms of technologies that already exist. Maybe some mandate requiring a percentage of every country’s GDP to be spent on R&D would help countries increase the money spent. Also, maybe a collective organization could organize scientists to work together to help solve the emissions problem(s).
I think the goal to level off emissions by 2015 to 2020 is a great goal, but I don't see it happening. I don't mean to be a pessimist,but in a world where change is slow a leveling off in around 13 years seems to be a strech. Just as the end of the article mentioned the U.S. spending on new technology is drastically under what it should be at to reach these goals. Increased investment and other incentives all over the world need to be put in place to achieve this goal. The good thing is we are more capable of reachign this goal than ever before so it can be possible but everyone all over the world needs to join in.-Evan Fitzgerald
While setting future goals for emission levels is positive and helful, they don't mean much if they are not supported by a mechanism. The fact that the UN met and came up with this goal is great, but the fact that they, "avoided recommending courses of action" is not so great. We all know what needs to be done, we just can't seem to do it. As a result you get a lot of talk but nothing is done. Sure R&D is important in leading the way to a cure, but as we talked about in class demonstration and deployment must follow. What good is an estimation of emissions without a means of achieving it.
Reports on effect of climate change seems to point to the fact that our ability to adapt to risk of global warming keeps diminishing with time. The amount of emissions in the atmosphere increases by day while we sit in conferences coming out with ideas which are never implemented. As Whitney points out, we need to implement the existing technologies while continuing with R&D to find better ones. It is of little use to come up with emission reduction standards which we are not committed to. The time to act is now.Felix
The UN is recognizing that THere is obviously an environmental problem but they are still not recommending any specific ways to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is a problem that is affecting everyone around the world and if no one takes a leadership role, people will do what is best for themselves. The UN is an obvious candidate for leadership and should take a stronger stance on the environment
I agree with Whitney that everyone knows something needs to be done, someone just needs to act. I think before there can be any action on the matter, the more people who acknowledge the problem of emissions the better. With so many different groups setting future goals, they might be more inclined to agree on one mechanism to implement that might actually be effective. For actually seeing results, it will take many groups to act together.
After reading that the UN has declared global warming "unequivocal," I find it hard to believe than anyone could now disagree with the fact that global warming is a serious problem that it has been caused by human sources. I hope that people can now understand that we have to take serious action to correct and reverse what has been done. However, like Tom said, the average American probably does not have the opportunity to read the information presented by the UN on global warming. But I do hope that the Bush administration listens to the UN's suggestion of increasing spending on energy technology research. The current level of $3 billion a year is way too low to reverse climate change.Rachel
it is interesting how many articles have recently been written on energy problems.
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