segunda-feira, 27 de outubro de 2008

How to stop climate change: the easy way

We have about 100 months left. If global greenhouse gas emissions have not begun to decline by the end of 2015, then our chances of restraining climate change to within the two degrees "safety line" - the level of warming below which the impacts are severe but tolerable - diminish day by day thereafter. This is what the latest science now demands: the peaking of emissions within eight years, worldwide cuts of 60 per cent by 2030, and 80 per cent or more by 2050. Above two degrees, our chances of crossing "tipping points" in the earth's system - such as the collapse of the Amazon rainforest, or the release of methane from thawing Siberian permafrost - is much higher.
Despite this urgent timetable, our roads continue to heave with traffic. Power companies draft blueprints for new coal-fired plants. The skies over England are criss-crossed with vapour trails from aircraft travelling some of the busiest routes in the world. Global emissions, far from decreasing, remain on a steep upward curve of almost exponential growth.
Sure, there are some encouraging signs. Media coverage of climate change remains high, and a worldwide popular movement - now perhaps upwards of a million people - is mobilising. But with so little time left, we must recognise that most people won't do anything to save the planet unless we make it much, much easier for them. This essay outlines my three-part strategy for stopping climate change - the easy way.

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