Word on the street (and by street, I mean almost every climate change scientist and environmental newspaper on the planet including Scientific American, NPR, and the Guardian) lately is that climate change may be irreversible. While that thought is undoubtedly scary, we here at Amovens remain optimistic about our global warming combat skills. Auden Schendler, Vice President of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company, is finding reason for hope as well. In his article Hope and climate change: Reasons to remain optimistic over at Huffington Post, Schendler provides a few reasons why we shouldn’t give up just yet.
- Though it may take longer than we had hoped to cut global CO₂ emission levels, we can cut rapid warming in the near future by targeting non-CO₂ greenhouse gases now. Several of the gases include black carbon, methane and ozone. By scaling back the release of these gases, the number of premature deaths caused by outdoor air pollution can be reduced and annual crop yield can increase.
- Support for a carbon tax is increasing from people on both the right and left of the political spectrum. In nearly all of the proposed ideas, the carbon tax would replace part of the payroll tax. This could lead to more efficient market incentives for businesses and individuals, as well as creating a market in which the costs of pollution are included.
- Government policy implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency is helping cut down on carbon pollution from two major sources: cars and power plants. As we mentioned in our previous post on Obama’s environmental policy, cars in the US will be required to get 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The EPA has also issued limits on carbon pollution from new power plants, as well as regulating carbon dioxide emissions from existing power-plants. Because electricity generation is the largest source of gas emissions, closer regulation on the sources of the pollution could mean a brighter future for our planet.
We couldn’t agree more that crawling into a corner and awaiting a world of irreversible climate change is the worst possible thing to do. A little optimism, and determination, can go a long way.