Year 4, Month 7, Day 4: Find The Cost Of Freedom…

The Washington Post channels its inner tree-hugger:

THE INTERNATIONAL Energy Agency (IEA) last week warned that global carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 were the highest ever. Yet international climate negotiations have floundered. Many Americans and their representatives in Congress still doubt climate change is a problem worth addressing. And as the developing world advances, its peoples are polluting more to obtain higher standards of living.

Forget for a moment the ideal or rational response; what’s the bare minimum global leaders could do? The IEA had some useful, if modest, suggestions.

An energy-gobbling world emitted 31.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide in 2012, the result of extracting and burning vast amounts of coal, oil and natural gas. Last month, the world reached another milestone that scientists and policymakers said they wanted to avoid — CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere that exceeded 400 parts per million. Scientists reckon that the last time concentrations were that high, the Earth was far warmer. Though the planet’s sensitivity to carbon emissions is still a matter of intense study, the IEA figures that, under policies in place now, the planet could warm between 3.6 and 5.3 degrees Celsius, mostly over the next hundred years. By contrast, world leaders have committed to limiting warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius, the point past which the consequences could be very negative.

Very negative. Indeed. June 18:

Any appropriately robust response to global warming must take place on multiple levels of scale. Regional projects like infrastructural reinforcement need to be supported by local-level changes in roadway use, power consumption, and waste processing, such as New York City’s plans for comprehensive composting. Ultimately, however, all strategies will succeed or fail based on two factors.

Without comprehensive reform of our energy economy and a global move away from the destructive fossil fuels that caused the problem in the first place, all other initiatives are doomed to failure. And without a reformed and responsible news media that recognizes the severity of the situation and the crucial importance of accurate reporting on climate change, there will be no widespread societal support for any actions could possibly impact the problem. When it comes to the civilizational threat posed by the climate crisis, ignorance has profound moral implications — and delay is suicidal.

Warren Senders

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