Month 8, Day 4: This Is All The Good News You Got?

The Chicago Tribune ran an AP story noting that the American climate negotiators are now reduced to reassuring their European counterparts that, yes, we will still honor our commitments.

While the collapse of climate legislation was a long-anticipated disappointment, it’s good to know that the United States still intends to honor its commitment to reduce CO2 emissions over the coming decade. Given that the USA has five percent of the world’s population, but emits twenty percent of its carbon dioxide, a seventeen percent reduction from 2005 levels is only a tiny step on a globally responsible path. If we wish to be taken seriously as a leader among nations, though, we must do better than a minimal reduction. We’re going to have to do some hard work, make some meaningful sacrifices, and prove ourselves capable of doing the right thing for generations yet to come. Is it possible? The current political climate is stranger and more overheated than the planet’s, but the laws of physics pay no heed to election-year exigencies. We must act decisively and rapidly, or all seven billion of us will face a future of almost unimaginable harshness.

Warren Senders

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