Carbon output must near zero to avert danger, new studies

The world must bring carbon emissions down to near zero to keep temperatures from rising further.

Yet in Britain, the government plans new “clean coal” projects because they say it’s the only way to keep the lights on. Doesn’t sound like they’re even trying to encourage energy conservation and renewables, does it?

  • DJ

    How’s that yurt coming? Seriously, this is what George Monbiot and the IPCC were saying last year: we need quick action to avoid very unpleasant consequences.

    I think it’s great that industry and government are slowly jumping on the green bandwagon. But CO2 emission rates are still going UP. We have not yet even slowed the rate of increase, much less approached a decrease.

    OTOH, virtually every person in the U.S. has the ability and opportunity to cut their emissions in half through simple, cost-saving conservation measures. (My wife and I have already cut ours by 51% and are shooting for 70%, while offsetting the remainder.) Much of this conservation is in the realm of reducing electricity consumption, making new power plants unnecessary. We’re not talking about major lifestyle changes here– just turning things off when not in use, using CFLs, insulating, and making better choices. If we just eliminated our wasted energy, we’d cut our emissions in half.

    Cutting our CO2 in half wouldn’t bring the U.S. anywhere near zero emissions– but it would bring us down to the level of the rest of the industrialized world. That would be a big step in the right direction.

  • The first really big step would be a president who makes this a priority. And all three of them do appear to get it about global warming (yes, even McCain)

  • DJ

    There’s at least a small irony here, since people (nominally) elect the President and therefore vote for what’s important to them. If carbon reduction isn’t important to the voters, it probably won’t be important to the President they elect. Does it take a carbon-reducing leader to make it important to people? Or does its importance to people elect a carbon-reducing leader?

    We already have the technology and money to cut our emissions in half without legislation– we just need a little common sense (since we’d all save money doing it). Legislation and leadership will go far toward reducing our emissions further, but we need to take the first steps on our own. Do we need a law telling me to change my lightbulbs to ones that will save me money? I hope it hasn’t come to that!

  • A president could lead on this, he has the “bully pulpit” and can make it an issue, and maybe even force action. He could be pro-active and make it a major agenda item. This would greatly help.

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