Enviro friends will all know about Robert Socolow and his paper back in 2004 (with Steve Pacala) about the seven categories of action that could be taken with existing technologies to stabilize the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in 50 years. These categories, or wedges, of mitigation of global carbon emissions became famous and have largely defined the climate change discussion ever since–at least among the fact-based folks who have rational discussion about climate change as science, rather than a liberal political plot.
Today, Socolow reaffirms and updates that original wedges paper–and provides suggestions for improving the terms of climate change debate–in an essay simulaneously published by my employer, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and Climate Central. (Socolow, a Princeton University professor, is also a Bulletin Science and Security Board member.) Comments by something of a Who’s Who of major climate scientists are appended to the essay.
This is not just important thinking. Professor Socolow can write, too. This one is worth your time.
Update on the wedges update: Over at the NY Times Dot Earth blog, Andrew Revkin has a lengthy take that includes a lot of wedges background that will be interesting for less-than-fanatic followers of the climate change debate. And even enviro insiders will likely find something of value here; that Revkin is one walking and writing environmental encyclopedia.
Update #2 on the wedges update: The Atlantic‘s inimitable Jim Fallows wrote about Socolow’s essay as well today, along the way providing the usual trove of Fallowsian added value, including a link to a past story of his, “Dirty Coal, Clean Future,” that is sure to enrage environmentalist coal-haters–or, perhaps, to make them think. After linking to the Bulletin and Climate Central postings, Fallows mentioned this blog, which was unexpected. Thanks, Jim.