Monday, June 23, 2014

Paulson addresses climate change: A Republican offers solutions, chides deniers

Next time you join your Republican neighbors for drinks or cards, and you hear comments about how climate change is not settled science, or is a liberal plot, trot out these talking points from a respected conservative - Bush's Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.  In a NY Times op-ed he is pushing a carbon tax but also makes the case for taking climate change and human contribution to it as givens.  For example:

Already, observations are catching up with years of scientific models, and the trends are not in our favor.
Fewer than 10 years ago, the best analysis projected that melting Arctic sea ice would mean nearly ice-free summers by the end of the 21st century. Now the ice is melting so rapidly that virtually ice-free Arctic summers could be here in the next decade or two. The lack of reflective ice will mean that more of the sun’s heat will be absorbed by the oceans, accelerating warming of both the oceans and the atmosphere, and ultimately raising sea levels.
Even worse, in May, two separate studies discovered that one of the biggest thresholds has already been reached. The West Antarctic ice sheet has begun to melt, a process that scientists estimate may take centuries but that could eventually raise sea levels by as much as 14 feet. Now that this process has begun, there is nothing we can do to undo the underlying dynamics, which scientists say are “baked in.” And 10 years from now, will other thresholds be crossed that scientists are only now contemplating?

Read more after the break - and then read the full article.  It's good.

And Paulson speaks directly to the Republican business community.

When you run a company, you want to hand it off in better shape than you found it. In the same way, just as we shouldn’t leave our children or grandchildren with mountains of national debt and unsustainable entitlement programs, we shouldn’t leave them with the economic and environmental costs of climate change. Republicans must not shrink from this issue. Risk management is a conservative principle, as is preserving our natural environment for future generations. We are, after all, the party of Teddy Roosevelt.
This problem can’t be solved without strong leadership from the developing world. The key is cooperation between the United States and China — the two biggest economies, the two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide and the two biggest consumers of energy.
When it comes to developing new technologies, no country can innovate like America. And no country can test new technologies and roll them out at scale quicker than China.

So addressing climate change aggressively and soon is not only prudent risk management but also an economic stimulus.

Read the full article here.

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