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It's Urgent

Recently, the United States stated that an international climate deal would not be possible before 2020.  This is largely a reflection of the upcoming election year and the dismal political will power to enable climate legislation in the United States.  However, without more substantial mitigation efforts before 2020, we will be at a significant disadvantage to reach a 2°C target.

Yesterday, I wrote an article for ECO talking about the need to have urgent action on climate change.   In the article, I mention two key points.  First, it will cost more than four times as much to instigate mitigation efforts after 2020 than to make changes now.  This phenomenon is largely due to continued investments in fossil fuel technologies over the next eight years which will “lock in” antiquated technologies and be expensive to retrofit.  Second, the rate at which we would have to decarbonize the economy after 2020 may not be technically feasible.  UNEP predicts that economies would be capable of decarbonizing at a rate approaching 3.5% emissions reductions per year.  According to the C-ROADS model, however, economies would need to reduce emissions 4% per year.

I find this lack of urgency not only disheartening, but quite frankly unfair.   It will be my generation that is forced to pay the expense of inaction, and it is my generation that may be faced with a warming climate that is beyond help.  The UNEP report “Bridging the Gap” showed a number of solutions that could be enacted now to help us stay on course for a 2°C temperature rise.  Some reports show negative cost to make the necessary changes.  There really is no good reason to stall for an entire decade; we must try harder."