Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Noxious Cloud with a silver lining

David Seaton's News Links
Here is a cheerful thought for the day.

From an American point of view, Global Warming's cloud of gunk presents a tenuous silver lining. This "end of life as we know it" scenario actually plays to America' strengths.

Climate Change presents a vast series of practical problems that have to be analyzed and solved, and finding ingenious solutions to practical problems is what Americans are famous for doing best.

Therefore taking the lead in solving this vast issue may present the USA with a path to move beyond its Middle Eastern, "All-Bran Moment". It could be what dear old Jimmy Carter would have called a "moral equivalent of war", a chance for a "finest hour": A chance for positive, coherent action and universal admiration. And all without bombing or torturing anybody. Peachy! DS

Global Warming: Hot Topic - The New Yorker

Abstract: (...) Almost as significant as the changes taking place inside Congress are those taking place outside it. Four days after Pelosi labelled the science of global warming “unequivocal,” James Rogers, the chairman of Duke Energy, one of the nation’s largest electric-power companies, said much the same thing at the National Press Club. Duke Energy is part of a new coalition, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, whose members include Alcoa, DuPont, G.E., and Lehman Brothers, along with groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute. At the press club, the coalition called on the federal government to enact a mandatory “cap and trade” system that would first stabilize and then begin to reduce CO2 emissions. “We know enough to act now,” Rogers said. “We must act now.” The coalition urged Congress to set a goal of cutting emissions by at least sixty per cent by mid-century. Carbon dioxide is a by-product of just about every aspect of contemporary life—from driving and flying to farming and manufacturing and watching videos on YouTube. To reduce emissions by sixty per cent—or eighty per cent, as Senator Boxer advocates, or by two-thirds, as the McCain-Lieberman-Obama bill calls for—will thus require significant, and doubtless also disruptive, changes at every level of society. This may not seem an attractive prospect, but, as the latest I.P.C.C. report makes clear, change is not something that anyone at this point has a choice about. All that is at issue—and it is critically at issue—is how disastrous the change will be. Already enough CO2 has been pumped into the air to alter life on earth for thousands of years to come. To continue on our current path because the alternative seems like too much effort is not just shortsighted. It’s suicidal. READ IT ALL

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