This guy says it’s too late to stop climate change, but not too late to mitigate its effects
Science writer Eugene Linden SAYS there’s still time to “temper the coming catastrophe” resulting from climate change:
To paraphrase Hemingway, climate change first comes gradually and then all at once. Now that the negative impacts of changing climate have become undeniable, there is also a dawning realization that—at this point—climate change is unstoppable. This puts into wistful perspective the developing consensus that we should do something about it.
The most unsettling thing about the accelerating pace of extreme weather events is that they may signal that even as the momentum in the rise of CO2 makes it difficult to reverse the cause of climate change, we are entering a new period in which change itself comes ever more rapidly. The retreat of the Arctic sea ice shows us how this works. The white surface of sea ice reflects about eight times the heat of open water. So, as the ice retreats, heat that previously was reflected from the surface and trapped below the ice is now absorbed and released, vastly amplifying the pace of change.
So how should we respond? Most obviously, we should stop making things worse. Tax penalties, tax credits, and import tariffs can nudge consumers, producers, and exporters towards reducing emissions without wasting more years on fruitless international negotiations or creating cumbersome new bureaucracies.
Second, we need to start adapting to the changes that are inevitable. Emergency loans and other financial aid to redress the billions in damage from extreme weather of the past couple of years already pressure budgets from the federal government on down. Hurricane Sandy showed the Northeast, for instance, where the vulnerable spots were. If someone wants to rebuild in one of those areas, so be it, but there is no reason that taxpayers should subsidize individual folly. The rates a private insurer would extract to enable a person, corporation or farmer to rebuild or replant in vulnerable areas would largely accomplish the necessary relocations—again with no bureaucracy.
Most importantly, we need leaders with the courage to steamroll the deniers and the vested interests.