Global Warming Potential
- The Earth, on average, is warming
- Humans are responsible
- Disastrous consequences will occur unless we change our habits
The US must base its climate change policy on what is probable, not on fringe science or unproven technology. Global warming is not a risk for the planet, it is a risk to us. Rapid climate change could destroy cities and habitable land, result in massive extinctions that could unravel the ecological food chains we depend on, and cause great conflict over dwindling fresh water supplies.
This means we must cut greenhouse gas emissions sharply by 2030 if not earlier, and probably go carbon neutral by 2050 if not earlier. An example of good policy would be to follow the recommendations presented in an article in the latest issue of Nature (BBC discussion here). Eliminating coal-fired power plants is one of the most important ways to meet our goals. The total greenhouse gas content of the atmosphere in PPM is the number we need to focus on.
However, much of the discussion in the political sphere seems to completely reject current scientific understanding, and instead argue for more coal and cheaper energy. Bad idea. I am not interested in slinging mud on any of the political ideologies out there, I just wanted to go on the record as saying any policies out of this group would probably do a lot of harm. Politically, economically, and environmentally disastrous.
Last month, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) announced the creation of the House GOP American Energy Solutions Group, meant to "work on crafting Republican solutions to lower energy prices for American families and small businesses." Helping lead the way toward finding those solutions? Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).Here are some interesting quotes pulled from Rep. Bachmann's public statements concerning greenhouse gas emissions:
"[T]here isn’t even one study that can be produced that shows carbon dioxide is a harmful gas. There isn’t one such study because carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural. It is not harmful. It is part of Earth’s life cycle." [4/22/09]
"And the science indicates that human activity is not the cause of all this global warming. And that in fact, nature is the cause, with solar flares, etc." [3/22/09]
"The big thing we are working on now is the global warming hoax. It’s all voodoo, nonsense, hokum, a hoax." [3/15/08]
"I don't think it has been established as a fact that global warming is the issue of the day. One thing we need to do is look at the science." [10/10/06]