The debate, such as it was, about “anthropomorphic climate change,” seems to be pretty much over. Most “holdouts” seem likely to acknowledge the scientific conclusions in the not to distant future.
While there is broad international agreement that the climate is changing due to human action, there appears to be much less agreement on whether to adopt the IPCC’s recommendations for action. The logical arguments may be summarized as follows:
But the world has not heeded these dire recommendations. So far, global emissions appear to be up 15-20% from 2010 levels. Oops.
Even the G-20 countries that profess the most concern about climate change have accomplished virtually nothing since the IPCC began sounding the alarm. (Yes, they have done a lot of talking and agreement-signing, and have issued proud statements of their commitments to increasing renewable energy sources. But what have they actually accomplished? Not much, especially when compared to the IPCC CO2e reduction mandates.
Here is a good starting point for the discussion—a PowerPoint presentation by an IPCC representative discussing the “Emissions Gap,” the difference between current emissions, future reduction commitments, and what is required (according to the IPCC) to avoid catastrophe.
The IPCC (and most economists) believe that carbon pricing, in one form or another, is the way to go. But that’s also fraught. Here is an article from today’s New York Times and an op-ed piece from today’s Washington Post on the lack of success in Europe.
So, what can realistically be done?