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Current Situation

The rate at which our carbon-industrial complex is consuming and destroying natural resources and increasing global CO2e emissions is threatening our future.

Under business-as-usual, rising CO2e emissions from energy, industry, and land use will lead to catastrophic climate change with negative consequences for all of humankind. Climate change threatens to disrupt agriculture, intensify storms, incur droughts, and raise sea levels, among other effects. Large-scale environmental change will result in loss of wealth and life. A number of early effects, including saltwater intrusion due to sea level rise and shifts in snowmelt patterns, are already being felt.

Anthropogenic emissions are contributing to rising atmospheric concentrations of CO2e that is causing global warming. If left unchecked, global temperature increase will have catastrophic consequences. The temperature projections depicted here show warming trends based on business-as-usual projections of CO2e emissions over the next century and assume moderate levels of economic growth and no significant steps taken to combat global greenhouse gas emissions. Source: Hadley Centre HadCM3 climate model, 2006

The United Nations has called for reductions in annual CO2e emissions below 1990 levels by 2020 to put us on a path to climate stabilization. Achieving the reductions set forth by the United Nations will entail significant changes to industrial operations, land use practices, and our energy infrastructure. These changes are an opportunity to build a sustainable post-carbon economy in place of the current destructive one.

In the current carbon-based economy, emissions are coupled with economic growth. Decoupling emissions and natural resource destruction from economic growth is the challenge we face. We can meet this challenge. There exist cost-effective wealth-creating solutions for low-carbon growth. We must identify and enable these solutions, to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future.