Climate Change Solutions Will Not Be Easy or Cheap

Both Carbon Trading and Emissions Are GrowIf someone tells you solutions for global heating are easy and inexpensive, they are either lying, wishful or ignorant. A new Australian government report written by Professor Ross Garnaut makes clear the climate change crisis is dire and solutions will not be easy or cheap. The interim Garnaut report [search] notes dramatic emission cuts need to happen more quickly to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas levels than generally acknowledged, and that solutions will require dramatically more expensive energy prices [ark].
The Garnaut report brings policy recommendations [ark] more in line with current scientific truths. With a global economic system built upon finite ecosystems; yet predicated upon continuous exponential growth, ever larger human populations, and enlarging access to conspicuous unsustainable consumption; it is highly unlikely climate change and attendant global ecological crises will be dealt with without society experiencing wrenching social, economic and political change.

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10 Responses

  1. streamtracker says:

    Could you please discuss this current paper?
    Unresolved issues with the assessment of multidecadal global
    land surface temperature trends
    by Roger A. Pielke Sr.,

  2. David B. Benson says:

    streamtracker — The paper does not really matter. All that matters is:
    (1) increased CO2 leads to global warming;
    (2) burning fossil fuels increases CO2.

  3. ewoc says:

    thanks for the clarification, David.
    This is one case where a simple statement (with profound implications, of course) really does summarize our dilemma.

  4. Dear David and ewoc,
    Perhaps there is another way of looking at the dilemma everyone is trying to adequately grasp.
    On one hand we have the manmade Economy and on the other hand we have Earth's ecology?
    Can we save both? If so, how?
    What concerns me most of all is this: the family of humanity appears not to have more than several years in which to make necessary changes in its conspicuous over-consumption lifestyles, in the unsustainable overproduction practices of big-business enterprises, and its overpopulation activities. Humankind may not be able to protect life as we know it and to preserve the integrity of Earth for even one more decade.
    If we project the fully anticipated growth of increasing and unbridled per-capita consumption, of rampantly expanding economic globalization and of propagating 70 to 75 million newborns per annum, will someone please explain to me how our seemingly endless growth civilization proceeds beyond the end of year 2012.
    According to my admittedly simple estimations, if humankind keeps doing just as it is doing now, without doing whatsoever is necessary to begin modifying the business-as-usual course of our gigantic, endless-growth-oriented global economy, then the Earth could sustain life as we know it for a time period of about 5 more years.
    It appears to me that all the chatter, including that heard in most "normal science" circles, of a benign path to the future by "leap-frogging" through a

  5. David B. Benson says:

    Here is what Biopact states needs to be done:
    http://biopact.com/2008/02/why-lester-brown-strongly-supports.html

  6. ewoc says:

    Stephen,
    You're right – as far as that line of thinking goes. Which is to say it confronts reality, and it doesn't get us as far as we need to go, because certain trends are already in motion, like a high speed train hurtling down the tracks towards its destination.
    We're not going to get developing countries to drop (or seriously curb) their efforts to increase living standards for their people. All we can expect and hope for is to get them to do things differently in terms of energy sources, transportation options, and materials. In my opinion (and I am not alone) we in fact have no right to ask them to continue in poverty, given the amount of waste in our own societies (and in fact irrespective of that). We waste more energy and materials daily than the average resident of a developing country uses (though I have not seen this quantified, I am certain that it is true).
    That doesn't mean international negotiations on climate and energy and related issues are a waste of time. Far from it – we need to get on with the business of talking to each other as soon as possible, once the Bush Administration is gone from office. We must unfortunately suspect even now that their mutterings about binding limits on emissions are a ruse, for this is the classic case of the “boy who cried wolf.” No one who cares about this issue can believe them now – for their deceit has been continuous and transparent for all who have been paying attention the last seven years. Kurt Vonnegut could not have written it better…….
    As to the issue of sustainability and when we “hit the wall” globally, in truth no one knows the answer. The question is too complex to answer with certainty. You can make a very good case that we have probably already reached a tipping point. But that does not argue for giving up, being hopeless, or apathetic – far from it. For this is the only planet that we have and the only life that (we know with some certainty) we are likely to live. And the other beings who inhabit the planet with us – the myriad life forms who are not in fact responsible for ANY of our greed, avarice, and ignorance – will bear the brunt of our decisions and our arrogance as a species. So we MUST act as if time was of the essence, and as if we have the power to make a difference. At least that is how I see it.

  7. Dear ewoc,
    If everyone of us in the family of humanity understood what you understand AND adopted your attitude toward the human-induced predicament looming before humanity AND acted as you are, then the world would surely change AND biodiversity would be protected AND our children would be assured of a good enough future.
    Thanks for telling us what is true to you, just as you see it. Such intellectual honesty is wondrous.
    Sincerely,
    Steve

  8. Cams says:

    So, what is wrong with HHO technology that Stan Meyer (and others) proved could be used instead of fossil fuels? Water powered cars, heating etc (the by-product is water and there is no need for special engines or hydrogen stations to refill tanks either – just hydrogen fuel cells) Perhaps visit the US patent office and read the host of US patents Stan Meyer holds.
    HHO is just one example of many alternative energy solutions that have been available for decades. It would appear as if people are either are too lazy, too brain-washed or are forbidden to speak of the hundreds of patents relating to alternative energy (certainly not limited to HHO) that we have been denied for decades -yet it is We who get the blame for global warming – go figure.
    By the end of the year I will be running my car off HHO (I'll first run duel fuel) while the majority of others will continue to pay record prices for fuel… Good luck in exploring these alternatives because the oil companies and governments certainly won't tell you about them until they can work out a way to make a substantial amount of money out of you. BTW, the medical industry is no different when it comes to suppression of information either.
    Thanks. RIP Stan Meyer

  9. Michael says:

    There are costs which are readily identifiable, and those which are not. Granted, by no means will climate change solutions be cheap. However, consider the “buildup costs” of not doing anything to reduce it. I've seen estimates which indicate global warming could reduce GDP by a full percentage point worldwide. In addition, if extreme weather events are partially caused by global warming, then the costs of rebuilding infrastrucutre can far outweight the costs of prevention. China, for example, has seen record snowfalls, with massive infrastructure destruction occurring as a result. The costs of this and potentially other distasters I would think are more costly than implementing climate change solutions.
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  10. Jacobson says:

    We really need to be more optimistic in these times instead of looking at how much it will cost or how easy it is.
    Its something that absolutely needs to be done without any question. There is no other choice and it should have been done decades ago. Both the earth and the human species cannot and will not survive unless green energy changes are made.
    To a cleaner future.

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