Science, Tech & Environment

Battling against climate change

JL talks about a glacier near Greenland breaking off and melting into the sea, causing a seismic response and causing mini-earthquakes, and scientists were dumbfounded because they had no idea glaciers could melt so fast. (So what is the aim of saying the world needs to cut carbon emissions by 2020? Is that to cause a reverse?) When you look at the melting of other ice sheets, these are the rivers that irrigate fields in Asia, you don't have to go beyond ice fields to see that we're in trouble. I think something like the Kyoto Protocol is obsolete now, I think we have to move quickly and seriously and we need to cut carbon emissions by 80% not by 2050 which is what most politicians are talking about but by 2020. (You believe wind is becoming the centerpiece of the new economy.) We see wind providing 40% of the world's electricity by 2020 which compares with coal today. this would take 1.5 million wind turbines, which sounds like a lot. But it's small potatoes compared with the number of cars produced in the world today now. (A lot of this is political will though, does this country have the political will to change things like that?) There's a fascinating story unfolding in the US right now where the government is rejecting coal plants or abandoning them. Wall Street is turning its back on the industry. (You say Iceland heats 90% of its country on geothermal energy having relied previously on coal and the key is restructuring the tax system to show the real costs of fossil fuels.) The market does not show indirect costs such as climate change and the prices of fossil fuels and economists have proposed we lower our income taxes and offset it by a rise in a carbon tax, so we encourage work but discourage fossil fuels. (I wonder if you believe that we have it within us to make the necessary level of changes to avoid the worst of climate change.) I remember the onset of World War II when most didn't want to get involved in the war at first, and then after Pearl Harbor everyone said we should get involved. (So is it going to take something like the equivalent of Pearl Harbor to shake opinions?) It doesn't necessarily have to be a Pearl Harbor, it just has to be a rising level of concern, which does exist today. it didn't take years in WWII, we did it in a matter of months. If we did it then, we can do it now.

Comments