Pielke Sr. Agrees with SkS on Reducing Carbon Emissions
Posted on 25 September 2011 by dana1981
Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. has responded to our last set of questions and answers, and we would like to thank him for a civil discourse to this point. To sum up the discussion, there are some points on which we agree, others on which we did not find agreement, and a few others which require further clarification. (Dr. Pielke's final summary is here). In this post, we will summarize the agreements in the text below, based on our understanding of Dr. Pielke's comments. Readers are invited to read Dr. Pielke's comments to verify that we are accurately representing them in this summary.
Reducing CO2 Emissions - the Prudent Path
We believe Dr. Pielke framed the prudent path forward with regards to addressing the risks posed by climate change very well (emphasis added):
"The emission of CO2 into the atmosphere, and its continued accumulation in the atmosphere is changing the climate. We do not need to agree on the magnitude of its global average radiative forcing to see a need to limit this accumulation. The biogeochemical effect of added CO2 by itself is a concern as we do not know its consequences. At the very least, ecosystem function will change resulting in biodiversity changes as different species react differently to higher CO2. The prudent path, therefore, is to limit how much we change our atmosphere."
Dr. Pielke further clarified his position in a later comment:
"I am very much in favor of energy sources which minimize the input [of] gases and aerosols into the atmosphere. Much of my career has been involved with reducing air pollution (both in research and in policy). What we should move towards is an economy with as small a footprint on the natural environment as possible."
We strongly agree with Dr. Pielke on this issue, as we have previously written, and we hope climate "skeptics" heed his sage words.
Other Climate Influences Must Also be Addressed
Although CO2 is one of the primary causes of the current climate change (more on the magnitude of its effects in a separate post), we agree with Dr. Pielke that other climate influences such as land-use change must also be addressed through climate policy.
We are pleased that we were able to find common ground with Dr. Pielke on the need to take serious action to reduce human CO2 emissions. We agree that other anthropogenic emissions (including aerosols) and land-use change are issues which must also be addressed (for example, see the United Nations Collaborative initiative on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation [REDD]).
Although we did not find agreement with Dr. Pielke on all issues, we feel that the need to address these problems is the most important issue in our discussions, and we hope he will communicate the 'prudent path' to policymakers when given the opportunity.