If I were the US president I would do now the following
Dr. John Holdren told us:
"...the current state of knowledge of global warming is sufficiently clear to state that failure to act promptly to reduce global emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases is overwhelmly likely to lead to changes in climate too extreme and too damaging to be adequately addressed by any adaptation measure that can be foreseen.... "
Every issue we deal with regarding GW must be viewed from this crucial angle: we are moving very fast into a catastrophic event. What would be the most practical approaches that would have the most pronounced reductions in both the speed and the magnitude of GHG
Here are the steps that I would take now to cut GW if I were the US President:
My main goal here would be to achieve full cooperation with China on GW
I. First some basic Facts:
1. No matter how much the developed world would cut its GHG, the growing GHG emissions by the developing world, especially China and India, would overwhelmed all the cuts elsewhere. Over the next two decades their emissions could be 5 to 10 times the combined GHG from developed nations, especially if we will be cutting ours down towards the famous -80% goal of 2050. Therefore we must work now with China especially, and India too, to help them cut their GHG.
2. Europe is willing to cut their GHG faster and further than the US, but they are waiting for the US to act first. They need it politically, but I am stopped by Congress right now. So I will concentrate on the most important partner- China.
3. If the US and China worked jointly and aggressively we could bring the rest of the world together to agree and start fast actions.
II. Actions I would take right now: They can't easily be limited by Congress:
1. Announce to the nation and the world in a very public event that I am going ahead as fast and as far as I can to slow GW as effectively as the presidency allows me.
2. Work with China: Quietly, without political fanfare. Go quietly to China, meet with the Chinese premier and leadership and tell them that I seek maximum cooperation with China on all elements that are possible. I will offer to setup quiet, non political, cooperation effort, with them as equal partners, to share all the knowledge of the issue.
3. Select a director that repot directly to me - the president, for this coordination /education/cooperation effort with China. I will select a leader of utmost abilities, high credibility, humility and integrity to lead this cooperation with china. His technical right-hand man should be Dr. J. Holdren.
4. Above all, we must be honest and open beyond any approach we have been using in the US political arena. China top leaders are more sophisticated than most of the US leadership and we could be destroying any chance of actually cutting GHG effectively if we mislead them.
We are partners; we must respect their long history, culture, and outstanding accomplishments. And we must be humble enough to learn from them too.
5. With China acceptance, send several teams of the best environmental scientists from around the world to spend some time in China to share freely and openly all knowledge with their own scientific leadership on all aspects of GW. China political leadership will listen mostly or solely to their own scientists before taking any significant action. The US should spend all the money needed, no cutting of expenses at this stage since it is the cheapest and most important step. This should be an ongoing effort with no time limit.
Nothing should be under the table. That means leave nothing hidden, the good and the bad about what truly is known and the dangers humanity is moving going towards.
6. Send the best teams of Federal and state regulators (EPA, Energy Dept. CA ARB) to China/India to discuss successes and failures in implementing energy changes. We must be honest and more open than in the political climate in the US. Lying to them, even our typical white lies, would kill cooperation and global ability to progress.We must gain their trust- China is very suspecious of the West.
China basic views of the world and their own political and regulatory system is markedly different than ours. But certainly valid to them. Also their political influences are on different lines than ours, but they still may benefit from our mixed experiences.
As a minimum we must help them to minimize repeating our many major mistakes. This will require some great humility on our part, which is not a readily available commodity in the US political, business, or financial systems. Selecting fine leadership for this cooperative effort, as I mentioned, is critical.
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