Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Al Gore explains why he’s optimistic about stopping global warming

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It is nice to find something optimistic to pass along on this topic. It  comes from The Washington Post’s Wonk Blog, not something I had even heard of let alone read but Steven Godfrey did and tweeted about it. (That’s called a hat tip.)

Well worth the read.

Initially I was going to post something about 350 – since there is still that badge up there to the right.

Ezra Klein: In 2005, when “An Inconvenient Truth” came out, I remember that the hope was we could keep the carbon load in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million, and the fear was we would hit 400ppm. Now we’ve hit 400ppm and people are hoping to avoid 450ppm. This seems to be getting out of hand, and fast.

Al Gore: We have already crossed the 400 parts per million mark. We crossed it earlier this year. The question now is how high it will go before we begin bending the curve. But in spite of the continued released of 90 million tons of global warming pollution every day into the atmosphere, as if it’s an open sewer, we are now seeing the approach of a global political tipping point.

But the badge is actually about something else so I am leaving it where it is.

I was also thinking about posting something about flood risk since at one time used to post about that but was then told that somehow the North West of America was exempted. Turns out that was wrong too. But given the blue paint on Cambie Bridge I have not felt nearly so alone on that issue lately.

I wish I could share Al Gore’s optimism. I think that may be because the view from here tends to be more pessimistic just because Christy Clark got re-elected and Stephen Harper isn’t going anywhere soon. Canadians in general, and BC in particular, does seem to be remarkably short sighted. We still blow up with rage over bike lanes, for goodness sake. We will probably vote “No” in the transit funding referendum (see almost any recent issue of Price Tags). We have the widest bridge in North America, after all, so what could possibly go wrong with that? The port is still seriously considering this Texada Island linked coal terminal – as though the world market for coal had not collapsed, and the BLI got zero bids for it recent public lands coal rights auction. Actually those last two may also be straws in the wind to boost optimism.

But we have governments at both federal and provincial levels who are both committed to an expansion of fossil fuel production. As though the issue of unburnable reserves did not exist. Even some of the wiser financial commentators are looking at what that does to the balance sheets of the oil and gas companies.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Impact of Climate Change

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