Views and debates on climate change policy
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THE QUESTION

Should sea level rise impact global decision making?

Some of the most dire impacts of climate change, including sea level rise, are several decades away, and even the loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic is years away. How should we factor these threats into our decision making today? Should we be seriously worried about them, or not?

Posted by Washington Post Editor on January 5, 2010 9:00 AM
FROM THE PANEL

Supplemental comments on climate science

This is a supplemental posting to respond to comments asserting that my focus on climate models was misleading and disingenuous. Nothing could be further from the truth. Climate models are important because it is their projections of catastrophic warming from...

Posted by William O'Keefe, on January 11, 2010 4:45 PM

Small changes make a difference

Penn State football coach, Joe Paterno, encourages his team by telling them that if they take care of the small things, the big things will take care of themselves. The same is true for many aspects of life including our health and climate change.

Posted by Rick Edmund, on January 11, 2010 3:47 PM

Look at the price to pay

The question of how seriously we should worry about the most severe effects of global warming depends on what we are willing to pay to avoid serious harm to our children and grandchildren.

Posted by Richard L. Revesz, on January 8, 2010 12:10 PM

Responding to future impacts

The decisions we have made and are in the process of making are already based on an assessment of the future impacts of elevated CO2 levels in the atmosphere. But as the science has become better understood over the last...

Posted by David Hone, on January 7, 2010 7:20 AM

Only science-driven solutions can secure our future

Sometimes it is difficult to conceptualize that our actions now can have disastrous implications in the future, but even when the direct consequences to our behavior aren't there in our faces we can't disregard what science tells us is happening....

Posted by Jessy Tolkan, on January 7, 2010 6:55 AM

Sooner than you think

The impacts of climate change are not just about a theoretical future, but are already being felt today. The federal report released last June, Global Climate Change Impacts on the United States, documented that increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature...

Posted by Donald F. Boesch, on January 7, 2010 6:45 AM

We're Going Down a One-Way Street

This is not a scientific question, it is an ethical or moral one. We are compromising the future of the environmental system that sustains us -- reducing the number and variety of species, acidifying the ocean, and eventually drowning our seacoasts. We will bequeath to our children a poorer planet, one less able to support them with abundance, than the one we inherited.

Posted by Reid Detchon, on January 6, 2010 8:35 AM

Science matters

Worrying today about the effects from climate change that are still far off is not only sound; it's the heart of this issue.

Posted by Robert J. Shapiro, on January 5, 2010 1:48 PM

Climate science still not clear

The outlook for climate legislation this year is not bright for a number of reasons. Hence, it would be useful and instructive to reassess the basis for the current set of policy proposals, which are based on a climate catastrophe later this century and which if implemented would severely constrain fossil energy use and impose large costs on the economy.

Posted by William O'Keefe, on January 5, 2010 8:45 AM

Let's be serious

Why on earth would we want to worry about the future? That's for our kids to deal with. I mean, let's be serious adults here.

Posted by Bill McKibben, on January 5, 2010 8:32 AM

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