It May Be Too Late to Stop Global Warming


"China is fighting poverty, malnutrition, hunger, poor health, inadequate education and limited opportunity. If you were the president of China, would you endanger progress to avoid a few degrees of temperature change?" he asks.

Muller suggests a better course for the West to take than condemning China for trying to be like the rest of us. Instead, we should encourage China to switch from coal to natural gas for its power plants, which would cut those emissions in half.

"Coal," he writes, "is the filthiest fuel we have."

Meanwhile, the West waits for a silver bullet, possibly a geo-engineering solution that would make global warming go away by reflecting sunlight back into space, or fertilizing the oceans so they could absorb more carbon dioxide, or something we haven't even heard about. Don't expect it anytime soon.

It would take a bold, and perhaps foolish, nation to take over the complex systems that control the planet's weather patterns. That's sort of what we did beginning with the Industrial Revolution. Now we have to live with it.

So maybe Knight and Harrison are right. It's time to pay more attention to how we are going to handle changes to our planet that seem inevitable.

We can fight global warming and try to mitigate the consequences, but it isn't going to go away.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

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