Total human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are about 49.5 gigatons of CO2 equivalent per year. Nature absorbs about half of this annually, but its ability to do that is diminishing. Global ecosystem services are being depleted faster than nature can resupply. The world is warming faster than the latest IPCC projections.
According to NOAA, the first six months of 2012 were the hottest in the US since record-keeping began in 1895. Glaciers are melting, polar ice caps are thinning, and coral reefs are dying. Rapid population and economic growth over the past hundred years has reduced environmental viability for life support; the impact over the next hundred years could be far greater.
Glaciers are melting, polar ice caps are thinning, and coral reefs are dying
It is time for a US–China Apollo-like ten-year goal and global R&D program to address climate change. These two countries are the greatest emitters of GHGs and have the largest economies. Such a joint program — with other countries joining in — could focus on accelerating the development of new technologies like electric cars, saltwater agriculture, carbon capture and reuse, solar power satellites, pure meat without growing animals, maglev trains, urban systems ecology, and a global climate change collective intelligence to support better decisions and keep track of it all.
It is time for a US–China Apollo-like ten-year goal and global R&D program to address climate change
These technologies would have to supplement other key policy measures, including carbon taxes, cap and trade schemes, reduced deforestation, industrial efficiencies, cogeneration, conservation, recycling, and a switch of government subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Read more on this issue in Jerome C. Glenn’ article ‘15 Global Challenges for the Next Decades’ .