To The Economist
Limiting temperature rises to 2°C above pre-industrial norms would still leave atmospheric carbon dioxide at well over 450 parts per million (ppm). We evolved – and until less than a century ago, lived – on a 300ppm planet. We need to return the Earth’s climate to its pre-industrial state, without doing the same to the economy.
The UN recently hosted the first Global Forum on Climate Restoration. Entrepreneurs and climate scientists discussed the undoubtedly gargantuan challenge of removing and permanently storing around a trillion tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere by 2050, and presented technically viable ways to do this. Even if market-based approaches to remove carbon dioxide fail entirely, and they won’t, a reasonable estimate is that it would cost 3-5% of global GDP for 20-30 years to return the atmosphere to 300ppm. As a comparison, ten years ago America diverted 3.5% of its annual GDP to prevent the financial system from collapsing. That felt like a good investment. So does this. (Jon Shepard, Global Development Incubator, under the title “A cooling investment“)
My comment: A minority of people throughout the world are trying hard to concentrate the attention of politicians to the scary warming of the planet, so far with small effect. The best news today is that BP has announced that it will stop oil exploration and development and concentrate only on renewable energy. But this is just one company. A large number of Americans seem to think that warming is a hoax. Their names and activities will go down in history as betrayers of the human race. But in a culture where money is god, and you have no right to stop them making money, however recklessly and selfishly, this is how it is and will quite possibly destroy civilized life. But who cares?