Sunday, December 31, 2006

Analogies We Wish We'd Thought Of

Okay, so we all know, I think, that carbon emissions are killing ocean life incredibly rapidly, right? Policymakers, however, are still thinking in terms of "stabilizing" our emissions, rather than drastically reducing emissions, which appears to be the only choice if we hope to reverse global warming, or at least not worsen it.

Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at Stanford recently described going to Washington "to brief some members of Congress. 'I was asked, "What is the appropriate stabilization target for atmospheric CO2?"' he recalled. 'And I said, "Well, I think it's inappropriate to think in terms of stabilization targets. I think we should think in terms of emissions targets." And they said, "O.K., what's the appropriate emissions target?" And I said, "Zero."'

"'If you're talking about mugging little old ladies, you don't say, "What's our target for the rate of mugging little old ladies?" You say, "Mugging little old ladies is bad, and we're going to try to eliminate it." You recognize you might not be a hundred per cent successful, but your goal is to eliminate the mugging of little old ladies. And I think we need to eventually come around to looking at carbon-dioxide emissions the same way.'"

--"The Darkening Sea," by Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 11/20/2006.

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1 comment:

Ken said...

Thanks !!

-- Ken Caldeira