Friday, February 27, 2009

Well, there's some good news and some bad news this week. The bad news is that Chris Fields, one of the heads of the Nobel-awarded Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says that greenhouse gas emissions have been growing even faster than climate models projected. This makes the good news that President Obama asked Congress to send him cap-and-trade legislation to reduce global warming especially timely.

What's cap-and-trade? It's a market-based system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that was shown to be quite effective in reducing the sufur dioxide pollution that caused acid rain. It puts a strict limit on emissions, and the sources of these emissions then receive a permit to pollute, basically, up to a given limit. These permits are such that total emissions don't exceed the strict emissions limit. The system allows the emitters to stay within their limit any way they see fit. Those that emit less than their limit can sell allowances to those who emit more. Before you become horrified, realize that a) the limit is reduced every year and b) this system actually worked more quickly than expected to reduce acid rain emissions, and more cheaply than critics predicted. When's the last time you heard of anything working more quickly than expected in government? Let's get behind this effort, which has been in effect in Europe since 2005.

Read The Hot Topic, by Gabrielle Walker and Sir David King, for a good description of cap and trade, p. 156, and a wealth of good information on global warming solutions. And send me your tips and global warming info!



  1. I don't know if there is a way to post the link to this article in our local paper by my friend Lisa.

    Lewis: Another way to recycle

    In these times of economic hardship and uncertainty, can we all just agree that it's perfectly acceptable - preferable, even - to give as gifts to our children things that otherwise might end up in the recycling bin?

  2. Here's a project my group did for class, a game for kids about energy saving: