I don’t believe for a second that we are on the brink of global destruction. We are on the brink of a global re-distribution and whole scale re-balancing of global goods and bads. But we have been there before and survived.
The report says it is possible to revamp the energy system in a way that reduces per capita carbon dioxide emissions from 17 tons per person currently to 1.7 tons in 2050, while still providing all the services people expect, from driving to air conditioning.
As we head to Paris, the expectations are profoundly lower. The national commitments that countries are putting on the table do not add up to nearly enough to keep us within 2 degrees; instead the plan is to come back every five years and hopefully do better. … It is still mathematically possible to stay within 2 degrees, but the odds of actually doing so seem to be receding by the month.
All of the pledges made in Paris will be voluntary. However, countries have not always fulfilled their pledges in the past, and it isn’t obvious that this agreement is going to cause countries to behave very differently in the future.
If the international community were to fully understand the threat of climate change, and the likely cost of mitigation and adaptation, perhaps we would commit to continued tax breaks and incentives, and propel the renewable energy transition toward completion. In the long run, I am sure this would be less expensive than coping with the consequences of continued growth in greenhouse gas emissions through 2050.
Technology has brought us low-cost global communication, and also enabled a global economy. It has also brought us closer and further from each other. We now know more about other cultures. We also see the differences, and sharpen our sense of inequities. Perhaps, this, rather than a control of greenhouse gases, needs to be the primary conversation.
Many experts at Columbia University’s Earth Institute are attending or closely watching the Paris climate summit. These include world authorities on climate science, politics, law, natural resources, national security, health and other fields, who can offer expert analysis to journalists. Here’s a guide to resources that journalists covering the summit can tap.
The climate issue seems to generate a high level of ideologically based politics, emotional rhetoric and political symbolism. It is time to move past symbols to pragmatism and political reality.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference, meeting in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, brings together world leaders to craft a new international agreement to keep the average global temperature rise below 2°C by 2100. Here’s what you need to know about it.
On Thursday, October 29, the Earth Institute and the School of International of Public Affairs hosted a panel on Sustainability and Climate Change in the 2016 Presidential Race. The panel was moderated by Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet the Press. The panelists discussed how to frame the climate change conversation in such a polarized political environment.