Click the illustration to enlarge
If you happen to know any presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens or dictators who are interested in saving the world, please email the following to them. It is my easy guide to averting climate catastrophe, a quick summary of "Carbon Crisis" by Bill McKibben, which included the graphic above and was published in National Geographic (thanks to French Road Connections for alerting me to the article):
- To save the planet we need "rapid, sustained, and dramatic cuts in emissions by the technologically advanced countries, coupled with large-scale technology transfer to China, India, and the rest of the developing world so that they can power up their emerging economies without burning up their coal."
- We'll need many strategies including "more fuel-efficient cars, better-built homes, wind turbines, biofuels like ethanol. Other [strategies] are newer and less sure: plans for building coal-fired power plants that can separate carbon from the exhaust so it can be 'sequestered' underground." The fifteen most promising strategies are shown in illustration above.
- "Since we're wasting so much energy now, some of the first tasks would be relatively easy. If we replaced every incandescent bulb that burned out in the next decade anyplace in the world with a compact fluorescent, we'd make an impressive start" on one of the fifteen strategies.
- "But in that same decade we'd need to build 400,000 large wind turbines–clearly possible, but only with real commitment. We'd need to follow the lead of Germany and Japan and seriously subsidize rooftop solar panels; we'd need to get most of the world's farmers plowing their fields less, to build back the carbon their soils have lost. We'd need to do everything all at once."
- "Not all the answers are technological, of course–maybe not even most of them. Many of the paths to stabilization run straight through our daily lives, and in every case they will demand difficult changes. Air travel is one of the fastest growing sources of carbon emissions around the world... We're used to ordering take-out food from every corner of the world every night of our lives–according to one study, the average bite of food has traveled nearly 1,500 miles (2,414 kilometers)... We drive alone, because it's more convenient than adjusting our schedules for public transit. We build ever bigger homes even as our family sizes shrink, and we watch ever bigger TVs... We need to figure out how to change those habits."
PS Sorry this post is up so late. Typepad ate the first version and I didn't realize.