Fueling Our Future

Harvard Magzazine looks at a few of the consequences of climate change, and proposes sequestering carbon in the oceans as part of the solution. The idea is to inject carbon from nearby power plants deep into the oceans where little complex life exists.

The most interesting part for me was the video supplement explaining how hard it is to get there from here, and asking:

would you be willing to spend hundreds of dollars per household per year to cut per capita American carbon emissions in half?

would you be willing to spend hundreds of tax dollars per household per year to cut third world emissions by financing technology there?

Take the poll, if only to see the blurb continue after your vote.

(The goal, many hundreds of dollars per household per year from now, is to reach an atmospheric level of carbon still at risk of accelerated, runaway, or abrupt climate change. The reductions may need to be greater than proposed, in part because the Earth’s ablity to absorb carbon is decreasing. But many in policy don’t see a more sensible goal as doable, and they don’t see this goal as readily achievable.)

The importance of these questions, similar to those asked at the Marian Koshland Museum in DC, is to emphasize that addressing climate change even somewhat is likely to cost us money. Yes, there is much that we can do that will end up saving money; energy efficient light bulbs and appliances, and better insulation, often save money, but not always. Shifting away from coal and other fossil fuels will cost money. Not addressing climate change is likely to cost us even more.

I have heard many say that climate change solutions are easy and cheap. Many of the solutions are. But overall, we probably want to consider shifting some of our budget toward reducing climate change, and some more of our budget to living with the consequences of what we don’t prevent.

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