It’s a great time to catch up on reading. An email from my friend Bob Lunning with a link to Thomas Friedman’s article “What Was That All About?” then kicked me back to my blog to catch up on some writing!
I agree with Thomas’ thoughts on the outcome of Bali and especially with these two points:
- That we Americans should become the model country in the world
- That the outcome of Bali is incrementalism at best, and that is a dangerous hobby
It’s difficult for me to understand why we have such an issue with reaching an agreement on global warming. As an architect, I’m immersed in creative problem-solving every day, so let me share some pragmatic ideas as to how I’d approach things. For starters, we need to agree on the answers to these basic questions: What’s the problem? … Where are we now? … Where do we need/want to go?
So here’s my crack at the answers …
Where are we now?
There are international treaties defining how the data is collected. A good place to find the results is the Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) at the World Resource Institute collecting this data from around the world or at the US’ EPA emission inventory for US data. In 2004, our CO2 equivalent emissions worldwide is 4.7 tons per capita and in the US it is 20.1 tons per capita.
Where do we need to go?
The IPCC is calling for stabilization as soon as possible. I understand with aggressive measures that this is possible by 2050 at a level of about 550 ppm with a reduction to 1 ton of CO2 equivalent emissions per capita world wide.
My mother used to say, “Sweep around your own front door before you try sweeping around another’s front door.” Maybe if we all followed her advice, we’d have a good foundation to a global agreement on climate change!
So let’s get started at home here in the US!
I understand it’s not easy when our number is 20.1 tons and we need to reduce it to 1 ton CO2 equivalent emissions per capita a year. But let’s get back to Thomas Friedman’s comment that we Americans should become the model country in the world. It’s a good time to make resolutions, right, so I therefore propose that we should start with a New Year’s Resolution – so how about:
We acknowledge the fact that we in the US do contribute over 20 tons of CO2 equivalent per capita and year and will reduce this to 1 ton by 2050!