The Climate Clock Keeps Ticking

Jan 15 2013 @ 8:02am

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Bill McKibben explains why climate change isn't like other political issues:

Physics couldn't care less if precipitous action raises gas prices, or damages the coal industry in swing states. It could care less whether putting a price on carbon slowed the pace of development in China, or made agribusiness less profitable. … And unlike other problems, the less you do, the worse it gets. Do nothing and you soon have a nightmare on your hands.

We could postpone healthcare reform a decade, and the cost would be terrible — all the suffering not responded to over those 10 years. But when we returned to it, the problem would be about the same size. With climate change, unless we act fairly soon in response to the timetable set by physics, there’s not much reason to act at all.

Recent Dish on McKibben's "Do The Math" tour here and his "Ask Anything" videos here.

(Photo: "A stream of meltwater flows across the ice surface in Greenland" by Ian Joughin via LiveScience)