What goes up doesn't come down. 


Scientists are normally a very conservative bunch. So why are almost all climate scientists so alarmed about our current course of rising fossil fuel emissions?

Here’s why. Carbon emissions from fossil fuels will stay in our atmosphere, warming the planet for many centuries.[1] While most pollutants go up and come back down or dissipate in a short time, on the human time frame, carbon is forever.[2]

There is already so much excess carbon trapping heat that polar ice and mountain glaciers worldwide are melting. Rainstorms and droughts are intensifying.[3] Oceans are acidifying,[4] threatening the food chain.[5] Each year we add more, and it doesn’t come out of the system for a very long time. We are rapidly running out of room for it.

Meanwhile, scientists have created a “carbon budget” to estimate how much more CO2 the atmosphere can tolerate before temperatures threaten civilization, freedom and prosperity. At current rate of fossil fuel use, PricewaterhouseCoopers has calculated that budget (to keep the world below 2 degrees Celsius) will be used up in just 20 years.[6]

If we bust this budget to burn moreof earth’s known fossil fuel reserves, the climate will become intolerable. If this sounds like things are becoming serious, it’s because they are. There is a conservative, market-based, pro-growth solution to this. More on that soon.

[1] Mason Inman, “Carbon is Forever,” Nature. November 20th, 2008. http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0812/full/climate.2008.122.html

[2] National Center for Atmospheric Research, “Learn More About Pollution.” https://ncar.ucar.edu/learn-more-about/pollution

[3] Lonny Lippsett, “Storms, Floods and Droughts: The cycle that transports water around the earth is intensifying.” Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. November 1, 2012. http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/feature/storms-floods-and-droughts

[4] National Geographic, Ocean Acidification summary. http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/explore/pristine-seas/critical-issues-ocean-acidification/

[5] Text of the Monaco Declaration, a statement of findings by 155 scientists from 26 nations on the effects of ocean acidification, October 2008. https://www.iaea.org/nael/docrel/MonacoDeclaration.pdf

[6] PricewaterhouseCoopers,“Conscious Uncoupling? Low Carbon Economy Index 2015.” October 2015. https://www.pwc.com/gx/en/psrc/publications/assets/conscious-uncoupling-low-carbon-economy-index-2015.pdf

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