The United States has become the only developed nation in the world with a serving government actively trying to thwart climate change remediation, and retain carbon energy. It’s pathetic really, but true. I continue to be astonished how many people, even people who read SR, still buy into the utterly repudiated arguments of the climate change deniers. As a result, if this administration survives, which I am not sure is going to he the case, at the end of four years quite predictably America will be a sharply diminished country, ill prepared for the future.
Science has given us a fact based roadmap as to what should be done, and here it is.
Back in 2015, the world’s governments met in Paris and agreed to keep global warming below 2°C, to avoid the worst risks of a hotter planet. See here for background on why, but that’s the goal. For context, the planet’s warmed ~1°C since the 19th century.
One problem with framing the goal this way, though, is that it’s maddeningly abstract. What does staying below 2°C entail? Papers on this topic usually drone on about a “carbon budget” — the total amount of CO2 humans can emit this century before we likely bust past 2°C — and then debate how to divvy up that budget among nations. There’s math involved. It’s eye-glazing, and hard to translate into actual policy. It’s also a long-term goal, easy for policymakers to shrug off.
So, not surprisingly, countries have thus far responded by putting forward a welter of vague pledges…