Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Nature Magazine on Climate Change

Reviewing the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the editors of the leading international journal of science tell it like it is:
The IPCC report, released in Paris, has served a useful purpose in removing the last ground from under the climate-change sceptics' feet, leaving them looking marooned and ridiculous.
And while emphasizing that addressing the issue has long been required, they explicitly note who have been impediments:
This requirement has been disputed by a collection of money-men and some isolated scientists, in alliance with the current president of the United States and a handful of like-minded ideologues such as Australia's prime minister John Howard.
They then note that even major corporations, like Citigroup, have begun to speak boldly about the dangers of climate-change. And they discuss some of the measures currently being taken to address the impending crisis.

The trouble is, none of this is even close to being sufficient to meet the challenge.
The problem being, of course, that any action even close to being sufficient will require economic sacrifices that no governments yet have the courage to acknowledge. They highlight the hypocrisy of governments taking some measures to reduce emissions, and develop cleaner sources of energy, while also expanding airport development- air travel being "the fastest-growing source of emissions, and one not capped by the Kyoto Protocol."

They state the obvious: it is time to begin discussing the economic sacrifices we must make. They call for mitigation as well as emissions cuts, and new approaches as the second stage of Kyoto negotiations proceed. They close with this brutal assessment of Bush's role as impediment to action:
US President George W. Bush will remain a participant in such negotiations until the end of 2008. But even before then, talks should include all the options open to a planet that is now ready, at last, to acknowledge the fix it is in.

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