Taking Our Temperature

Stay Cool: Solutions to Global Warming

Global warming is, well, global. The solution will need to be global too. That means convincing vastly different peoples and nations to work—and sacrifice—together. It won't be easy. But what's the alternative?




Business Environmental Leadership Council
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Center for a New American Dream
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Environmental Protection Agency
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Grist Magazine
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Sierra Club
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Obvious as it sounds, the first step toward solving any problem is admitting it exists. Even today, some governments and individuals refuse to acknowledge — much less address — global warming. They argue that rising temperatures are just part of a long history of natural variations. Gradually, though, the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and increasingly sophisticated computer models are changing quite a few minds.

click to enlarge image Projected changes in global temperature. Source: UNEP

To encourage people to confront climate issues, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published Climate Change 2001, a report based on research by hundreds of scientists from around the world. Among other things, the report said:

  • "Human activities have increased the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases."
  • "An increasing body of observations gives a collective picture of a warming world."
  • "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities."
  • "Observed changes in regional climate have affected many physical and biological systems."
  • "Overall, climate change is projected to increase threats to human health."


The IPCC also said that humans can take steps to lessen global warming. The most important of these actions would be to cut the amount of carbon dioxide and methane we pump into the atmosphere. Of course, that's easier said than done.


Quaint as they look in this 1841 view of Provincetown, Massachusetts, windmills could be a key—and carbon-free—part of our energy future. Source: NOAA.
Quaint as they look in this 1841 view of Provincetown, Massachusetts, windmills could be a key—and carbon-free—part of our energy future.
Source: NOAA


One of the key challenges will be coming up with a global strategy for addressing this global problem. That requires convincing countries with dramatically different needs and resources to work together. Another big job will be to find Earth-friendly fuels to power heaters, air conditioners, factories, jets, cars, and all the other modern inventions that no one wants to give up. The recent popularity of hybrid autos that get 60 miles to the gallon is an encouraging start.


Earth. Source: NASA
It’s still the only home we have.
Source: NASA


So what next? The evidence for global warming is increasingly stark, and so are the obstacles facing those concerned about the Earth's health. Fighting this planetary illness will be hard and slow. Lots of people will tell you that it's impossible.

Just remember: Going to the moon was once "impossible" too.


Walking on the Moon. Source: NASA
Enough said.
Source: NASA


science_iconSo what can YOU do?


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