Year 2, Month 5, Day 24: Just Put It On The Pile, OK?

USA Today notes a new report from the National Research Council makes the point that we need to act soon on climate change — and if we don’t, we’ll really be sorry about it:

A report released Thursday by a National Research Council committee cites “the pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare to adapt to its impacts.”

Since the effects of greenhouse gases can take decades to come about, and then persist for hundreds or even thousands of years, waiting for impacts to occur before taking action will likely be too late for meaningful mitigation, according to the report.

Beginning emissions reductions soon will also lower the pressure to make steeper and costlier cuts later. “It is our judgment that the most effective strategy is to begin ramping down emissions as soon as possible,” said committee chair Albert Carnesale of UCLA.

A perfect hook for a letter about how stupid our Congress is. Sent May 13:

Sigh. That just-released report on climate change — the one that says the longer we wait to reduce greenhouse emissions, the worse things will get — you know the one? In a world where reason, factuality and expertise actually played a role in American politics, such a study would have a seismic effect on our Congress. Legislators would move to incorporate its recommendations into law, providing companies with governmental incentives to shrink CO2 footprints, providing states with funding to develop programs of their own, honoring individuals who developed new strategies for environmentally conscious energy usage. Why, if we lived in such a world, the NRC report could make an enormous difference in all our lives!

Unfortunately, in the world we actually inhabit, logic and factuality are political anathema — and the NRC study will likely join other similar studies in the Congressional dustbin. And the Earth gets hotter and hotter.

Warren Senders


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