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Warming to the Crisis

Kyoto countries miss their targets, but scientists say climate change was already unstoppable.

Fortnightly Magazine - May 2006

able to hold atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases steady since 2000, global average temperatures would rise by about 1 degree Fahrenheit by the end of the 21st century. In addition, sea levels would rise by another 4 inches, just from thermal expansion. The NCAR team also found that rising sea levels would continue well beyond 2100, even without adding water from glaciers and ice sheets.

These results indicate that “adaptation” will play a larger role in the future; “prevention,” as such, is really no longer viable.

And that’s precisely why the utilities might well bring a little realism to the table in the debate over global climate change: Accept the limits imposed by science, physics, and the laws of thermodynamics, and then move accordingly.

The country and the industry are doomed to fail in this effort if they do not learn from other efforts that have failed. The world needs a new solution—a new plan to deal with global warming that has not yet been envisioned.