Personal Sacrifice and the Climatic System
As the science of climate change becomes more widely known, we are entering a period of angst where the reality of climatic system collapse is accepted, yet the search for climate solutions lags. One dispute is to what extent individuals must sacrifice modern conveniences to reduce emissions; such as driving less, eating less meat and many other energy conserving activities; or whether the required necessary changes are of such a scale like public mass transit, global carbon caps and a carbon tax, which can only be carried out by governments. Given we must reduce emissions dramatically, by some 60% and perhaps more as soon as possible, the answer is both. I am very disappointed in Tony Blair's recent statement that we should all carry on with our air travel because science will find an answer to the problem. The hard reality is that some degree of personal sacrifice is going to be required. Additionally, emissions cannot get to their required levels without rich nations dramatically cutting their emissions and allowing poor nations to increase to equal levels. This approach is called contract and converge [search]. I am shamed every time President Bush selfishly says America will not set mandatory emissions caps because developing countries refuse to do so immediately, when our emissions are up to 30 times that of poor nations. Climate solutions require that emissions must be reduced equitably, both personally and by governments. Work like the dickens to reduce your own carbon footprint while joining the people's movement to bring about societal change sufficient to achieve long-term, equitable and just global ecological sustainability.