Geoscience Reference
In-Depth Information
Chapter 2
What We Could Do
So if climate change is taking place, will intensify further in the coming
years, and will hit us where we live, what can we do? If we accept the
findings of scientists about climate change, the path before us is clear:
since we human beings are contributing to the problem, we should do
as much as we can, as soon as we can, to reduce our contributions to cli-
mate change. We should do so on every level: as individuals, families,
businesses, industries, states, nations, and the international community.
We should use every technology already known to us to reduce our emis-
sions; be inventive in finding, testing, and implementing new technolo-
gies; create smart and workable public policies and real-world arrange-
ments to help smooth the transition to new practices; and handle the
many historical, cultural, social, economic, and political obstacles to this
transition with grace and sensitivity—while moving ahead as quickly as
is feasible.
The trouble is that we have not taken these steps with the clarity and
dispatch we need. In fact, we have done the opposite. Most nations have
continued with business as usual, delayed real action, perhaps taken par-
tial steps at most, and waited for others to sign on before starting up a
serious effort. But the climate continues to change, and time is waning.
Even as scientists warn us that waiting further could be disastrous, we
persist in a resolute inertia.
At this late hour, then, we need to take a double approach to the chal-
lenge before us. On one level, we must examine carefully the entire range
of measures we could take for reducing the harm we do. To this end,
we could rely on those expert guides who explain how to use existing
sources of energy more efficiently; how to create, distribute, and use new,
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