November 18, 2009
Andrew C. Klein is a Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at Oregon State University.
The international scientific consensus is clear: The Earth is warming, and humanity’s reliance on carbon-based energy sources is a significant factor. Scientists working under the auspices of the United Nations believe that unless global emissions are stabilized by 2030 and cut by at least half by 2050, the Earth’s temperature will increase by more than 3 degrees centigrade by the end of this century.
Should this happen, these scientists predict, both the natural world and human society will experience dire consequences, including mass extinctions, severe flooding caused by rising sea levels, and the failure of primary crops. To prevent these predictions from coming to pass, developed countries like the United States may need to cut carbon emissions by as much as 80 percent by 2050.