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The Economists' VoiceTop Economists Take On Today's Problems$
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Joseph Stiglitz, Aaron Edlin, and J. Bradford DeLong

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231143653

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231143653.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 24 July 2021

Climate Change

Climate Change

The Uncertainties, the Certainties, and What They Imply About Action

(p.5) Chapter 1 Climate Change
The Economists' Voice

Thomas C. Schelling

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the following aspects of global warming: the uncertainties, the certainties, the urgencies, and finally, what uncertainties imply about waiting for their resolution before acting. Among the many uncertainties are question such as: How much carbon dioxide may join the atmosphere if nothing is done about it? How much average warming globally is to be expected from some specified increase in the concentration of carbon dioxide and other “green house” gases? What will the world be like in fifty, seventy-five, or a hundred years when climate change may become acute? Amidst these uncertainties is the undeniable fact that the Earth's temperature is rising. What is most urgently needed is research and development, especially multi-government-sponsored R&D. Research should focus on alternatives to fossil fuels; how to capture and sequester carbon dioxide from stationary plants; and how to increase Earth's albedo, its reflectance of incoming sunlight.

Keywords:   global warming, climate change, environmental protection, carbon dioxide, alternative energy, fossil fuels, albedo

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