Collision Course

Reckoning with an existential threat

Unprecedented bushfires and heat waves in Australia. Increasingly intense hurricanes and cyclones. Melting glaciers and permafrost. Warming and acidifying oceans. Locust swarms devouring east Africa. And in the face of it all, global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. Even if the aspirational Paris Agreement were fully implemented today, we’d still be headed toward a 3.2-degree Celsius rise in global temperature, with far worse, indeed catastrophic consequences.

According to the Emissions Gap Report 2019, released by the United Nations Environment Programme this past November, we need far deeper cuts in emissions to stop the unfolding apocalypse — a more than 7 percent reduction every year for the next decade. The measures we’ve taken so far have been like trying to stop a flood with a toothpick. Revenue-neutral carbon pricing, renewable energy initiatives, tree planting and other remediation...