Monday, April 16, 2007

Debate is Between Mitigating and Adapting

From Mark Trahant of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

"If humans are, at least, partly to blame, can humans, at least, partly mitigate the effects? Or a better question: How much should we spend on mitigation versus adaptation?

"The IPCC report says flat-out that "many impacts can be avoided, reduced or delayed by mitigation."

"If mitigation is even a reasonable hope, shouldn't it become a shared value? Heck, even a conservative standard? Those are actions that could save billions of dollars over the cost of adaptation. We know we are going to have to both mitigate and adapt, so why not focus on the solutions that are the most promising and cost-effective? "Even the most stringent mitigation efforts cannot avoid further impacts of climate change in the next few decades, which makes adaptation essential, particularly in addressing near-term impacts," the IPCC said. "Unmitigated climate change would, in the long term, be likely to exceed the capacity of natural, managed and human systems to adapt."

"We will need both mitigation and adaptation. Our only choice is the right balance to our approach and how fast we go.

"But before we figure that out, the global warming debate -- the political one, not the scientific one -- has to move beyond slogans. We need to engage this democracy and talk about the next century, opening up ways for people to thoroughly explore our prospects, test scenarios and debate alternatives."

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