Turn on any national network T.V. news broadcast and it’d be truly difficult to go an entire half-hour segment without there being at least some mention of the drought in the western U.S., now in its fourth year – a direct consequence of global warming? And, that brings this discussion to the next and final point.
Only by curbing driving can the effects of global warming be dealt with effectively – not: ?
Global warming (GW) is frequently a topic of heated debate and by heated, I mean contentious. In fact, there are whole works, treatises devoted to the subject, both pro and con. The main points of contention are first: whether GW is real; and second: if GW is real, is it, first and foremost, the result of human influence? The first precludes the second if it is believed that GW is not real. Only recently does there appear to be greater support with respect to conditions 1 and 2 – that global warming is real and that human activity is a primary influence of a warming Earth.
Without global warming being proven conclusively, then any claim that anthropogenic factors are behind what is driving world temperature rise, has no meaning. Therefore, evidence must be there to back up the declaration that Earth is warming and human activity is to blame.
Accepting the notion that proof does exist (there are many still who dismiss this notion completely), there must be consensus reached regarding whether or not such poses a very real threat. “The Road More Traveled – Why the Congestion Crisis Matters More Than You Think, and What We Can Do About It” authors Ted Balaker and Sam Staley see the solution as more an economic than an environmental one. In other words, a far strengthened economy will better equip the world’s peoples – rich and poor alike – to better deal with global warming’s effects than if time, energy and money were invested in efforts aimed at trying to normalize temperatures and lower the amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, one of those efforts, of course, being a reduction in driving activity. This is the message that I perceive the authors in question to be espousing in this instance, based, of course, on my understanding of my reading.
The problem as I see it is this: If carbon dioxide or the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere is not perceived to be an imminent danger (I believe no one thinks that this is the case presently), then it is going to be an uphill climb (which it is already proving to be) in getting all the nations of the world to universally adopt a climate-change or global-warming accord. We will have a better idea come this December if in Paris, France a climate treaty is signed and agreed upon by the interested representatives of countries in attendance at the conference.
If a formal treaty materializes, then this means nations will have to begin the difficult job of putting mitigating plans into effect to ultimately return CO2 and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to agreed-upon levels. Barring that outcome, I feel that all nations will individually as opposed to collectively have to decide if they are going to continue to work toward substantive CO2 and GHG emissions reductions.
Even if countries decide to pursue emissions reductions independent of what other nations decide to do, or, are doing, timelines for achieving a particular objective will, of course, be left up to said nations to decide what those timelines will be – a haphazard approach at best. Let’s hope a formal treaty is signed; one with teeth especially.
This concludes this series.
Image above: NASA
– Alan Kandel