April 22, 2017

#EarthDay 2017 — how much hope?

Pinkladies ultrawide 2

Here we are at another Earth Day. Looking at the nice pretty flowers isn't good enough.

Little was known about details of anthropogenic climate change in 1970 at the first Earth Day. Plenty is known now.

We know that we're already halfway to the 2°C temperature rise beyond which things are deemed, if not fully unacceptable, at least somewhat so. We also know that in all likelihood, we're going to bust that by 2100, and there's a shot we bust 3°C. We also know that the UNPCC's estimates on climate change run from somewhat conservative to quite conservative.

These glaciers in Glacier National Park, behind Many Glacier Lodge:

Glacier - Many Glacier - lodge at sunset

Are almost certainly doomed by 2050.

And, this glacier at Canada's Jasper National Park (yes, you can walk out on it!)

Jasper - Athabasca Glacier - me on it 2

is probably gone by 2100; at a minimum, the portion below the crest in the photo is gone by or before then. (And, the center of this glacial system, in Jasper and Banff national parks in Canada, feeds the North and South Saskatchewan river systems, among others, on the Atlantic side, and the Columbia on the Pacific side.)

But, there are many things — glaciers, polar ice, flora, fauna, and more — that we can save.

But, we need to realize some things.

"The market" won't do it, because it thinks short term, as does instinctual human nature. Carbon cap and trade schemes in the European Union have already shown it.

Only a carbon tax, by an economy as big as the US, the united EU, or China, when combined with a carbon tariff to force everybody on the same page, can do it.

We can't stop 2°C. Only a carbon tax + tariff gives us a puncher's chance of stopping 3°C.

And, as I've written before, this carbon tax cannot be fully redistributed back to the public with rebates or similar. It must have teeth enough to force changes in behavior. And, readers should be skeptical of corporate carbon tax proposals like eXXXon's.

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