How to Win the War on Global Warming

Sheryl CanterThis post is by Sheryl Canter, an online writer and editorial manager at Environmental Defense Fund.

Time magazine’s cover story in their latest issue is "How to Win the War on Global Warming". It starts this way:

Americans don’t like to lose wars – which makes sense, since we have so little practice with it. Of course, a lot depends on how you define just what a war is. There are shooting wars—the kind that test our mettle and our patriotism and our resourcefulness and our courage—and those are the kind at which we excel. But other struggles test those qualities too. What else was the Great Depression or the space race or the construction of the railroads or the eradication of polio but a massive, often frightening challenge that we decided as a culture we ought to rise up and face? If we indulge in a bit of chest-thumping and flag-waving when the job is done, well, we earned it.

We are now faced with a similarly momentous challenge: global warming. The steady deterioration of the very climate of our very planet is becoming a war of the first order, and by any measure, the U.S. is losing. Indeed, if we’re fighting at all—and by most accounts, we’re not—we’re fighting on the wrong side.

Take a look and tell us what you think!

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  1. Posted April 18, 2008 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    “War on…” rhetoric is silly. Wars on Poverty, Drugs, and Terrorism involve a lot of shock and awe but few results. If the War on GW is pursued with the same command and control mentality (“I command thy carbon to sequester!”), we face a bleak future. Instead of declaring war, let’s stop being stupid, i.e., stop subsidies for stupid ideas.

  2. bob321
    Posted April 22, 2008 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    This is awful. War on Global Warming? Please… If you want to cover a war, there’s one going on in Iraq. Global warming is more of a debate than a war. And, the American public is going very tired of it, since they’re more worried about doggie poo than global warming.

  3. Posted April 24, 2008 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    “Global warming is more of a debate than a war.”

    Global warming is no longer a debate. We’re past the talking stage and into aggressive action. Not a war? Okay – we don’t need a violent metaphor, perhaps. A race? A …? What should we call aggressive action to prevent dire consequences?

  4. steveshoap
    Posted April 25, 2008 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Of course we all need to use less fuels, etc.
    But, we still have to use cars in the short run.
    I have invented a way to make very small cars much safer.
    If small cars are not considered death traps, more Americans will buy them.

    Please see my website

    For 8 months I have been trying to get somebody to consider my idea. NOBODY will look at it. Car companies, universities, gov labs, famous authors, environmental leaders all have blown me off.

    There is a lot of talk about 80% CO2 reduction, but nobody is creating a safe car that will get us 100 or 200 mpg. Most of the proposed high mpg vehicles are overgrown motorcycles or scooters.

    The most important thing needed for excellent fuel economy is low car weight (or mass). A battery car or a hybrid car or a hydrogen car will ALL go farther if they are light weight. BUT, light weight is dangerous in collisions.

    Please see my invention.

  5. quentinp
    Posted April 27, 2008 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I think we can celebrate the most famous magazine in the world changing the color of it’s iconic cover (first time ever?) to green. Also they seem to be pretty clear on Pacala / Socolow’s approach, the importance of cap and trade and other things. Fabulous levels of awareness and engagement that we could have only dreamed of two years ago.

    So they used a particular noun for the struggle : “war”. If my grandma f*rted while she was making me a huge Thanksgiving dinner I wouldn’t walk out of the house.


    P.S. A word of advice to steve’s hope : People generally like to be in the majority (research shows). So leading off your argument with “For 8 months I have been trying to get somebody to consider my idea. NOBODY will look at it. ” is the strongest incentive most people can get for NOT pursuing it further. Much better to suggest that it is yet undiscovered / new / about to be launched / that you would simply like some feedback.