07 August 2012

Rolling Stone: “Global Warming's Terrifying New Math”

Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe - and that make clear who the real enemy is

The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons

This number is the scariest of all – one that, for the first time, meshes the political and scientific dimensions of our dilemma. It was highlighted last summer by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a team of London financial analysts and environmentalists who published a report in an effort to educate investors about the possible risks that climate change poses to their stock portfolios. The number describes the amount of carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies. In short, it's the fossil fuel we're currently planning to burn. And the key point is that this new number – 2,795 – is higher than 565. Five times higher.

Bill McKibben

Extremely long article for an extremely difficult problem that will keep humanity busy far into our future. It’s one of those cases where both the market economy and governments (be it a democracy or a more centralized regime) fail to act in the best interest of us. It’s somewhat similar to the recent financial crisis in that few people and companies hold a lot of power and have a lot to gain from the status quo in the short term, at the expense of the majority; so making the necessary changes is proving extremely hard.

One of those articles I prefer to read on my Kindle.

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