The Plans We Have

So, we've got a goal - 450 parts per million by 2050. How are we gonna do it?

Here's the facts:

Slowing ourselves down that much - especially with the massive increase in emissions that developing nations have chipped in, and the massive consumption of the US of A - is gonna take a lot of work. And not only a lot of work, but a lot of hard choices.

On the one hand, we have 41 years to make some progress. But on the other hand, that seems like such a long time. I mean, do we really have to start right now?

Short answer: Yes.

Slightly-longer answer: My god, people, yes!

The longer we hang out, business as usual, habits unchanged, the closer we get to feedback loops - the short story there is bad, but I'll save it for another time.

Because right now, we're talkin' about Stabilization Wedges.

It's a stupid term; here's how it breaks down.

Each stabilization wedge is a plan of action to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a (relatively) small slice, with the goal of stabilizing the level of carbon in the atmosphere by 2050. Hence, stabilization wedges.

There are a lot of wedges. One for each way we can be a little better to the Earth's natural order of things. They range from replanting forests to cutting average distance driven in half to building nuclear plants. There are a ton of options, and we'll be exploring them with you, one by one. Here's the key, though - we don't have to do every single one. We just have to do enough of them to reach 450 by 2050.

It'll be a lot of work - but we've got the plans. We're already working on plenty of 'em - take the hybrid car wedge, for example. We aren't there yet, of course, but we're making progress.

Would you like to know more?

Read the paper that created stabilization wedges and brought up the idea of 450 by 2050.

A less technical version can be found here.

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