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But in f act innovation in general and energy

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Unformatted text preview: ttracted only a tiny percentage of motorists out of their automobiles. Even the best rail transit lines provide only small energy and greenhouse benefits relative to the most efficient automobile s. And most rail transit lines in the United States actually consume more energy per passenger mile than the average passenger car. 10 | P a g e High Speed Rail Negative BDL No Solvency – Climate Change – Too Fast [____] [____] Climate change is too fast – the small emissions reductions of the affirmative are just a drop in the bucket Atkinson et al., president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, 2010 (Robert, “Ten Myths of Addressing Global Warming and the Green Economy”, June, http://www.itif.org/files/2010-green-economy-myths.pdf) Perhaps no social and economic issue is getting so much attention these days as the need to transition to a low-carbon economy. Most scientific evidence suggests that a 50 to 85 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) must occur by 2050 to prevent global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius. Toward that end, numerous advocacy groups, scholars, think tanks and others have proposed a variety of steps to take based on a set of assumptions about the green economy. Yet, while we need to take bold action to address climate change, much of what passes for conventional wisdom in this space is in fact either wrong or significantly exaggerated. There are several key reasons why conventional wisdom is incorrect, or at best significantly overstated. One is that because the magnitude of change neede d is much larger than many realize, many conventional solutions simply won’t achieve the global scale needed. The simple equation below demonstrates the scale of the challenge. Growth in global GHG emissions is largely a factor of population change, per capita income change, and our “dirtiness” of every unit of consumption. The last factor describes how much less polluting (in terms of GHG emissions) our business-as-usual economy needs to become as the other two factors vary. Greenhouse Gas Change = Population Change * Per-Capita Income Change * Dirtiness Factor If the goal is to reduce GHG by 50 percent by 2050, it’s not enough for each unit of economic activity to be 50 percent “cleaner.” Global population is expected to grow by 46 percent (not a desirable goal and one we can and should take efforts to slow). Moreover, per-capita income growth is expected to increase by 129 percent (a desirable goal). Put those two factors together, and now the planet’s economic activity must become 84 percent less polluting to achieve the over 50 percent reduction in GHG. That is, we need an 84 percent reduction in our “dirtiness” for every unit of energy we utilize. By any measure, this is a great hurdle given the expectations that neither population nor income growth are going to hold steady over the next four decades. A second factor limiting the discourse is the belief of many that innovation is “manna from heaven” th...
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