The latest on your climate

By: Bill Blakemore
By: Bill Blakemore

A landmark report came out in the beginning of May 2007 on what to do about global warming. Delegates from 120 countries, including the United States, met in Thailand and produced a report that went beyond the scope and severity of the climate problem - to talk about solutions.

The report opens with a sobering fact: Since 1970, greenhouse gas emissions have increased 70 percent and will grow by double that amount by around 2030 if nothing is done. The good news? There's lots that can be done.

"There is no silver bullet, but there is a silver shotgun. We need a lot of different measures," said John Holdren with the National Commission on Energy Policy.

The report offers a menu of solutions for countries to choose from. It says all are affordable, but some may be tough to swallow. It recommends a tax on all companies that emit greenhouse gases - making it no longer free to put carbon dioxide in the air. Energy plants fueled by coal should be required to bury emissions underground - technology that is still under development, and governments should support more carbon-free energy like nuclear, solar and wind power.

The report also calls for much higher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, and building new public transport systems. For buildings: High standards for more efficient lighting, heating and cooling - like the systems in this new york skyscraper, which actually save their owners millions of dollars and keep millions of tons of carbon out of the air.

"There are sensible measures that will either make money because they save more energy than they cost, or will cost amounts of money that will not put the economy out of business," Holdren said.

Officials of the Bush administration, which opposes mandatory greenhouse gas limits, agreed today with the overall message.

"Everybody knows there's a problem, that we ought to get on with it and let's stop talking about the problem, let's talk about the solutions," said Harlan Watson, U.S. senior climate negotiator

The report also says no two countries need to do it in the same way, but to avoid the worst effects of global warming they have to do it.


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