Sectoral solutions


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Beau’s beer, illuminated from behind

Yes! Magazine has an interesting series of short articles describing climate change efforts that can be undertaken in four major areas:

  1. Buildings
  2. Electricity
  3. Transportation
  4. Food and Forests

Breaking down the problem by sector is a useful way of assessing the most important areas for action, as well as those where the most improvement can be made for the least expenditure of resources. In an ideal world, simply internalizing the externalities associated with climate change would create the proper incentives for the market to sort out the problem. In practice, law-making is too slow, inconsistent, and unconcerned with future generations for that approach to work alone.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

R.K. March 11, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Cool photo. What’s the wavy blue thing?

R.K. March 11, 2008 at 2:43 pm

You may find this interesting:

How driving is like smoking

Milan March 11, 2008 at 7:51 pm

What’s the wavy blue thing?

My cell phone screen. I was using it to illuminate the beer and logo from behind.

Sarah March 11, 2008 at 9:25 pm

I like the cigarettes – cars comparison. If we view car use as habit forming, then it suggests to me that we want to discourage initial use by making driving licences far more difficult and costly to acquire and by raising the costs of insurance and petrol. Simultaneously, one could invest that extra tax revenue into subsididing public transit and tax breaks for transit users. One might even – shock, horror – make the granting of city planning permision contigent on NOT providing parking in order to make cars less and less convenient to use.
As an asthmatic who does not possess a driving licence because I reasoned it was the first step on a slippery slope to selfish car-driving obesity, I’m on board with the anti-cars campaign already.

. March 12, 2008 at 3:51 pm

Interview on the Amazon

Are you optimistic about the Amazon’s future?

If I were a politician, of course, I would have to answer ‘yes’. As a scientist, I have to say no, I’m pessimistic in the short term. Everything is working against the Amazon right now. But I’m optimistic in the long run. Agriculture will become more effective. Regrowing forests and avoiding deforestation will probably be an effective answer to global warming. There is a big surge of interest in changing the economic model in the tropics, to decouple deforestation from development.

Fifty years of deforestation did not bring wealth. Selling carbon credits on the international market is not going to bring the type of money into tropical countries that would make them completely independent, wealthy countries. This is not oil. But it’s a sizeable amount of money that can be used to leverage a new model of development. The fact that there will be a market will instil a sense of responsibility into tropical countries.

Milan March 12, 2008 at 4:37 pm


I also like the comparison, but I think it’s over-optimisitc. Cigarettes will kill you here and now, and make you smelly and yellow in a matter of days or weeks. The impacts of cars are distant and mostly impact other people.

It will be a lot harder to make them uncool.

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