It has been said, said and said again: Greenhouse gases have got to go.
Humans are converting carbon into a gas and filling the atmosphere with it. That is a primary force in changing the balance of life on Mother Earth as we know it.
The case was made on November 2 by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Before that it was made by, among other scientists and researchers, President Barack Obama’s National Climate Assessment.
And it is re-emphasized in this video by The Story Group, which has brought each chapter of the national assessment to life.
In the mitigation chapter profiled below, convening lead author Tony Janetos talks about the necessary steps, and about what could happen if we don’t take them.
It’s important, for instance, “to explore some of the ways in which either the emissions can be reduced or the processes that take greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere can be enhanced,” he says. And, although there’s a lot going on in terms of local and state initiatives, with some federal ones thrown in, it is piecemeal. “What there’s not is nationally comprehensive legislation.”
Lowering emissions “would require some very ambitious transformations of the energy economy,” he says. “We’d have to move quite rapidly off of a lot of fossil fuel sources and have alternative sources of energy.”
It does not look as though it will happen any time soon, he says, though it has to.
“There are encouraging signs in some sectors but we’re not close to being on that trajectory,” Janetos says. “To some degree it’s still under our control. We can choose whether or not we’re going to end up living in a high-greenhouse-gas future or a lower-greenhouse-gas future.”