December 3, 2018

A wolf in the snow: the planet isn’t crying wolf as man’s economic activities reach a scale where the global climate is at risk (photo: cc)

The COP-21 Paris Agreement limiting greenhouse gas emissions was a major achievement on the road to meeting the threat of climate change. But as the evidence becomes increasingly unambiguous that human activity is destabilizing the Earth’s climate and biosphere, policymakers will need to do more. The inherently shared nature of the threat underlines the need for closer and more comprehensive international cooperation to preserve the habitat in which human life has thrived.

William Nordhaus, to be honored next week with the Nobel Prize for his work on environmental economics, wrote in 1977:

„In contemplating the future course of economic growth in the West, scientists are divided between one group crying “wolf” and another which denies that species’ existence. One persistent concern has been that man’s economic activities would reach a scale where the global climate would be significantly affected. Unlike many of the wolf cries, this one, in my opinion, should be taken very seriously.“

A little over four decades later, the wolf is at the door.

Looking back, 2018 has seen more intense heat waves, wildfires, and storms. Seventeen of the 18 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. 2018 is on track to join these ranks. Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions keep rising. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »