According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change, to hold global warming to the low end (3-4 degrees F),
global emissions of CO2 will have to peak in 2025—less
than 20 years from now. Granting a 10-year lag for developing
countries, this means that developed country emissions, including
the US, must peak and begin to decline by 2015.
We believe that the policy proposals presented here provide
a sound starting point for a national dialogue on global warming
solutions,” write the members of the national committee
of scholars that developed the possible solutions examined
in “The 2% Solution.” The committee included Dr.
David Orr, chair of Environmental Studies at Oberlin College,
and Drs. Penelope Canan (sociology, Central Florida University),
Jon Isham (economics, Middlebury College), James Speth (dean
of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale), and Hunter Lovins,
CEO Natural Capitalism, Inc.
The Focus the Nation Web site lists these topics, and invites
viewers to click on the links, read about the policies, and
add comments in the forum. Topics include:
Invest in the Clean Energy Revolution.
Create Green Jobs, Save Energy.
No New Coal Plants without “Capture and Sequestration.”
Cap Pollution and Cut Checks. (to All Americans)
Build Green: Carbon Neutral by 2030.
Jumpstart Low Polluting Biofuel.
Support Stronger Forests.
Tax Global Warming Pollution.
Cleaner Cars, California-Style.
Get Efficient — Cut Energy, Save Money.
The policies listed here,” organizers clarify, “and
on the Web site, are just starting points for discussion. Each
has costs and benefits, and each will create winners and losers.
And yet, some mix of the critically important actions described
must be implemented soon if we hope to stabilize the world’s
climate at 3-4 degrees F.
Will it be enough?
“At the personal, business, and community level,” organizers write, “there
are many things we can all be doing to cut global warming pollution. But voluntary,
individual, and community-based efforts will clearly not be enough to stabilize
the climate. The focus of this effort must be on the national agenda as an opportunity
to debate the steps that the U.S. government will need to take soon if the American
people are indeed going to choose to slow, stop, and even reverse global warming.
Imagine,” if organizers were to write on focusthenation.com, “every
U.S. congressperson, U.S. Senator, governor, mayor, and state representative
getting multiple invitations to sit down and talk with young people about their
future. Imagine Speaker Nancy Pelosi declaring Jan. 31, 2008 Focus the Nation
Day—canceling business in the House of Representatives and urging members
to get engaged. Imagine governors from Maine to Arizona doing the same. Imagine
thousands of elected officials facing the optimism, energy, and moral authority
of more than 100,000 students, forcing politicians out of complacency and fatalism
and helping them confront this challenge of our generation.”
Engagement at this scale is what history demands of us. We are in a race against
time to elevate global warming solutions to the top of the U.S. political agenda,
and Focus the Nation is our best chance.”
Done right,” organizers add, “these actions will also revitalize
America’s communities and economy.”