Summary of The Climate Fix

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Rating

8

Qualities

  • Innovative

Recommendation

The debate over mitigating the effects of climate change has become extremely politicized. Policy makers manipulate scientists, and scientists oblige them, while those opposed to regulation use uncertainties in the science to justify inaction. Professor Roger Pielke Jr. cuts through the emotion, rhetoric and posturing to find a solid foundation for effective policy. He explains climate change and emissions reduction through the lens of political possibility, and offers environmental action that embraces economic growth. He explains why emission-reduction targets won’t work and why taxation policies might. His thorough treatise can be wonky, but getAbstract recommends his vision to policy makers, energy industry reformers and concerned citizens.

About the Author

University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke Jr., author of The Honest Broker, has published articles in the Washington Post and Atlantic Monthly, and appears on TV and radio. He was formerly a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

 

Summary

Climate Science Facts

Human activity puts more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere than the oceans, soil and air can safely absorb. Scientists fear – though they are not certain if or when – that the planet may reach a tipping point when too much carbon dioxide has entered a system no longer able to absorb it or to buffer the globe from its effects.

In Europe, policy makers talk about stabilizing carbon emissions at 450 parts per million (ppm), which apparently would increase atmospheric temperatures by “two degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.” But the numbers are a best guess. Environmentalist Bill McKibben and many scientists suggest 350 ppm instead, which would keep emissions at 1980s’ levels. In 2010, carbon levels were 398 ppm. Other scientists think the quest for the optimal “stabilization target” is a distraction and that policy makers should concentrate on reducing emissions to zero.

The Earth’s complex climate system challenges politicians. Debates over ozone and acid rain occurred in the late 1980s amid political and public policy processes and in a different atmosphere than today’s climate debates. Current ...


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