Thursday, 7 September 2006

All Hands on Deck!

When the ship is sinking, everyone needs to pitch in to help. The Financial Times quotes Prof. Peter Smith of Nottingam University as saying the “tipping point” to runaway global warming is closer than expected. Says Prof. Smith:

“We could reach the tipping point within 15 to 20 years from now, which would give us just 10 years tin which to determine the destiny of our planet…the government’s energy review totally fails to appreciate the urgency of the situation.”

The British Association Science Festival has been going on, and the attendees conclude that there’s no longer any doubt that climate change is serious. Now we know for sure we have a big problem and less time than we’d hoped to solve it. What do we do?

The international climate negotiators and technology developers are playing a long game. They’re working on solutions that will provide global, hopefully permanent, climate benefits. But many of them, from mandatory emissions reductions in China and India to replacing all our petrol engines with sustainable hydrogen, will take decades to achieve.

We can’t continue with business-as-usual while we wait. If you’ve been considering the switch to green electricity, go ahead and give it a try. Thinking about signing up for a car-sharing scheme? No time like the present. It's true that planting trees and similar measures are a temporary fix - they only help as long as the trees survive. Similarly, lowering the thermostat only works as long as we remember to do it. But if these efforts can buy us some time, pushing the “tipping point” back a few more years, it gives us more time to transition to a true low-carbon economy. Every little bit helps, but we all have to pitch in.

(Carbon Clear Homepage)