Summary of Fast Forward

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  • Innovative


While the science on global warming is clear, its politics are murky. Foreign policy experts William Antholis and Strobe Talbott contend that national affairs of state must take into account ethical global concerns over the Earth’s future. They reach back to the ancient Greeks, the Founding Fathers and the joint US-Russian efforts on nuclear arms control to portray modern climate change as a matter of overarching significance. While their principled arguments may not totally convince opposing sides, what remains, however, is valuable: a journalistic, blow-by-blow chronology of the global warming debate and its diplomatic failures to date. This detailed presentation makes the case – at times ploddingly – that a new way of thinking is necessary to reduce greenhouse gases before the planet suffers irreparable damage. The subject matter occasionally can get eye-glazingly technical, but its consequences are crucial. getAbstract believes that policy wonks and environmental activists will lap up the book’s points, and recommends it to students of global governance and every other citizen of planet Earth.

About the Authors

Strobe Talbott heads the Brookings Institution, where William Antholis is managing director and a senior fellow in Governance Studies. Talbott served as US deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration; Antholis worked on Clinton’s National Security and National Economic Councils.



A Heated Argument

Over the past two centuries, civilization, unwittingly, has conducted a dangerous experiment: heating the Earth’s atmosphere. Today’s global population represents the first generation to bear the burden of this awareness – past generations did not understand the impact their actions had on the planet, and future generations will be powerless to save it. It’s up to contemporary society to take on the challenge of a global rescue.

Global warming requires a “fast forward” response that essentially will reorient industries and economies. Climate change will challenge entrepreneurs and scientists to devise new solutions. Nations will have to work together, pushing the limits of sovereignty and national interests. The problem of global warming raises ethical questions, which can serve as the basis for political answers. Human beings must consider their responsibilities for planet Earth as important as their responsibilities for their communities and countries.

The sources of global warming are well-known: Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, factories released carbon dioxide (CO2) and related gases in large enough quantities to change the way...

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