How to Drive the World Off a Cliff

Three scenarios for responding to rising global temperatures. The third one isn’t pretty.

How to Hit the Brakes on Climate Change

When nations gathered in Cancún for the annual United Nations climate talks in 2010, Felipe Calderón, then Mexico's president, memorably likened the process to a stricken airplane or “a truck on a winding road, and the driver has a heart attack, and we’re all on the edge of hitting a tree, going over a ravine, squabbling again.” Somebody, he said, has to take control or hit the brakes.

It’s not a bad analogy. How hard should you apply the brakes on climate change?

This brief video colorfully illustrates three ways to respond to climate change. The mainstream approach is to tap the brakes, with a gradually rising, government-mandated carbon price, such as this research example. A more aggressive response, gaining favor among some economists as the years tick by without major cuts, is to slam on the brakes with a higher carbon price, informed by the scale of climate risk and uncertainty about how bad the impacts may become.

Or we could burn it all and pretend we're going along just fine.  

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