Global Warming and Land Use

Debate about how the Greenhouse effect is changing the environment has been scientific in nature -- now it's time for a radically new approach -- one that includes land use.

July 4, 2000, 8:30 AM PDT

By Chris Steins @urbaninsight

"The issue of global warming has been framed by a single question: Does the carbon dioxide emitted by industrialized societies threaten the earth's climate?" Political efforts to reduce atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels, such as the The Kyoto Protocol, have been a dismal failure, and largely ignored. Scientific and political debate framing the global warming problem in terms of carbon dioxide reduction is a "social dead end." If debate about Global-Warming is to result in a solution, the whole argument should be framed in a radically different way. We should take steps to reduce our vulnerability to weather today by improving land use and natural resource management practices. By doing so, we would begin to solve the problem of tomorrow's climate. Daniel Sarewitz is a research scholar at Columbia University's Center for Science, Policy and Outcomes. Roger Pielke Jr. is a scientist with the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Thanks to Chris Steins

Tuesday, July 4, 2000 in The Atlantic Monthly

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