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December 7, 2009

Closing the Gap on Climate Change

By Ai Lung Nguyen - December 2009.

ENVIRONMENT - According to an United Nations Environment Programs report the world should emit no more than 44 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2020 to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

We are currently emitting 47 billion tons.

Adding together all publicly announced commitments (globally, from all countries) would lower the gap to 46 billion tons annually by 2020.

That means if various countries managed to come up with ways to cut another 2 billion tons from our annual greenhouse gas emissions we could make a sizable difference in how bad climate change will effect the world. To close the gap we need roughly a 5% cut in global emissions.

It is unfortunately already too late to prevent climate change. The worry now is how we survive it and how bad it will get. Concerns like rising sea levels, ecosystem collapse and desertification of food producing regions raises major concerns about food shortages. The American Midwest is expected to turn into a dust-bowl like it did during the 1930s, which would be disastrous for American farmers, the American economy and food production.

Potentially if China, Europe and the United States cut back 0.7 billion tons each it would meet that target. China and the USA currently produce over 6 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually. Europe accounts for approx. 5 billion tons and has already made substantial cutbacks, proving it can be done while maintaining a strong economy.

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