The Hot Future Is Here: A Letter From Bloomberg Green’s Editor
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Climate events usually come with long schedules measured in increments of decades. And so do the solutions. BP might give itself one decade to cut oil production by a million barrels and increase renewable output twentyfold. Presidential nominee Joe Biden will claim a decade and a half to zero out greenhouse gases from U.S. electricity. Retail giant Amazon will allow two decades to eliminate its still-growing carbon dioxide emissions. Europe’s working on a three-decade interval to become a zero-emission continent.
The biggest consequences are also seen as generational ordeals. Perhaps we insist a bit too much that the worst will be borne by our children or theirs. Too hot to survive outdoor labor? That’s supposed to be the end of this century, near the equator. Metropolis-ending sea level rise? Later next century, along the coasts.
But look out the window—or, better yet, through the window of a colleague in California during a videoconference. That smudgy gloaming at noon is something new. There’s a quickness to the wildfires causing it, just as there was speed to Australia’s epic burn last year. Almost nothing moves faster than this summer’s pace for broken heat records. Even the permafrost is thawing faster.
This is life at 1C. In the blink of a decade, the unnerving summer of 2020 will be among the coolest on average that anyone will have experienced in the prior 10 years. This unbearable heat of our own making requires faster solutions.
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- Good, better, best. A guide the green credentials of consumer items like diapers, pet food and beer.
- What keeps you up at night? This time we asked an artist in China.
- Homes that are already too hot. Climate change exposes the downside to energy-efficient design.
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