Climate change is still often talked about in fuzzy generalisations – “we need to produce less CO2″, “we need to use more renewable energy”, “we have to stop burning fossil fuels”.
As they say, what get’s measured, gets managed, and when you talk about climate change in this way, it’s hard to get a handle on the kind of change needed. Is turning my A/C up by 1 degree enough? By turning off all the lights in my classroom when I leave, have I done my part.
Thankfully, some people have worked on getting us some nice, hard numbers as to just how much carbon we can burn, and what are the risks associated with that, and The Guardian have put these numbers into a handy infographic, with a helpful reference to how much carbon we could burn if fossil fuels
Great discussion point for your econs or social studies class – we’re currently stuck between a rock and a hard place: fossil fuel companies have far more carbon reserves than can be safely burned. If we don’t burn them, fossil fuel companies go bust and potentially billions of dollars are lost from the economy. If we burn them, it will cost millions of lives, and trillions of dollars.
Which would you choose?