Given that the United States remains the global leader on so many fronts, it is entirely appropriate that the we should take a leadership position on reducing carbon emissions. A natural next step would be a revenue-neutral carbon tax to encourage lower use of carbon fuels by us all and throughout the economy.

Actually, with carbon dioxide now higher than 400 ppm, far higher than it has been throughout the last million years, we need to eliminate the burning of fossil carbon fuels altogether. What a waste that burning will be seen to be 100 years from now.

Coal, oil and natural gas resources then could be mostly kept in the ground, mined or withdrawn in relatively small quantities and put to good use in many other ways. That way those resources would last for millennia, instead of being all used up as quickly as now.

It comes down to the question: “What kind of world do we want to leave to our grandchildren and their children?” Hot as hell and with limited resources? Are we crazy or smart?

Peter Garrett


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