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Jonathan Stutts
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I feel obligated to echo some of Rachel's concerns (above). It's hard for me to believe that we truly comprehend all of what is going on in the ocean. It's also hard for me to believe that we can have such drastic effects on a body so massive. I get the acidity story more than I buy the idea that we could bottom-trawl our way to starvation. Regardless, my main takeaway, and primary fear, is that we will take longer to act than our resources can last. In the past, our earth changed much slower than our decision making process. Today, I'm not so sure we aren't in the opposite situation
I think Cort makes a great point after looking through the actual RGGI press release - this certainly represents a bright spot in the ongoing battle against pollution and climate change. Personally, I like the fact that air quality held weight in the decision to reduce, rather than increase, the carbon cap. We know that there are adverse health effects from poor air quality but often times overlook the direct impact on our own bodies (along with the planet). Assuming there was actual debate on whether to raise or lower the cap, the report's mention of air quality shows (in my mind at least) that communities are becoming more proactive and aware of the negative externalities of releasing greenhouse gases. Hopefully we can scale this up to the national level sometime soon
I feel obligated to be the brake pedal on this one - John Whitehead gets on a roll a little quicker than I can reconcile here. Within a three sentence span he has assumed that natural disasters can be linked directly to global climate change. I realize he has probably done way more research on the matter, but I am not comfortable making that jump. From what little I know, warmer oceans magnify the strength of hurricanes, which cost billions of dollars, but to suggest a causal relationship between global climate change and something like Katrina, he is going to have to do a lot more proving for me to nod my head along. I certainly think global climate change is an important issue. I also agree that the United States needs to pay more to address the issue. But I think this particular article is a weak attempt to simplify the valuation of climate change's adverse effects.
My initial reaction is similar to Doug's (below). The idea of climate-related law suits could quickly spin out of control. The court system in the United States is incredibly inefficient already - we waste tremendous resources every day trying to sort out petty lawsuits. Is it any surprise the United States lobbied heavily to avoid litigation as a potential solution? The United States is home to a remarkable, "Have a problem? Sue." phenomenon. Shifting responsibility for adverse climate effects to the courts on an international scale would be a huge drag on the global economy. Beyond that, it simply wouldn't work. The closest solution would be something like a United Nations Climate Court. But where would the court draw the line when evaluating cases? How could the court be unbiased? The courts certainly couldn't rely on emissions reports from each country, because every nation would have added incentive to report lower emissions than actual levels. In my opinion, this article, and the associated idea behind it, misses the point. Or at least the intermediate step. The problem will only be fixed when the global community is truly dedicated to finding a solution. Said differently, climate change will be a true agenda item when every nation's perceived cost outweighs the benefits of ignoring the issue. The key is the perceived cost portion. An island that has to move because of rising sea levels meets the above criteria for getting serious about climate change and holding nations responsible. A developed nation, like the United States, on the other hand, is not even close to the turning point. We still simply do not see the costs, and we are not alone. The solution lies in a consensus among the nations that can actually advance an international climate responsibility agenda, not on their courts. An international court may be possible [still difficult] with a strong consensus, but it is surely impossible without.
Jonathan Stutts is now following Caseyj
Jan 20, 2013
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Jan 20, 2013