It will take cool heads to prevail in a heating world, however, and one quick path to disaster could be that, too caught up in the intensity of this struggle, we ignore the necessity of the near-term strategy as well.
Politicians use accounting tricks to make us think their paltry efforts are worth a damn. For one, they dilute the annual impact of climate pollution by spreading it over 100 years. If we don't make serious progress within the decade, however, what we do afterward will be moot.
In a five-page statement responding to my organization, the Center for Biological Diversity, and other conservation groups, the EPA flatly refused to establish any schedule or plan for using the Clean Air Act to reduce the millions of tons of air pollutants produced by coal mines. Why?
Comics love irony. So you might think that there would be truckloads of good jokes floating around about our environment. After all, you've got global warming, melting polar ice caps and millions of cows whose flatulence create less than desirable methane levels.
The endless tug of war confuses the common man, who has worries more immediate than climate change. He would like to know, once and for all, if global warming is deadly. To wit, are we are done for, or are some people just blowing hot air?
Approximately two-thirds of the world's poultry meat and eggs, and more than half of all pork, are now produced in industrial systems, and consumption of animal-based foods is rising, particularly in developing countries.
Every mom asks questions about the plastic in her house: where it came from, who made it, what exactly it's made of and how many nonrenewable resources went into its manufacture. As an environmental engineer, I can tell you that many of the answers can be frightening.
Last month, the US Energy Information Administration reported that for the first three months of 2012, CO2 emissions from energy sources fell to about 1992 levels. Another boost for natural gas? Certainly EIA's press release spins it that way.
This is a crucial time in the history of our species. We need transformational leadership that embraces supposedly unachievable challenges and then rises above them -- in order to obviate the unintended and unimaginable consequences of an ice-free North Pole.
A couple years ago, artist Matthew Mazzotta's idea of turning dog waste (methane gas) into renewable energy caught the world's attention. Since then, his splendid public awareness campaign of turning dog poo into biogas has inspired others.