An introduction to the core climate solutions

This post will serve as an introduction to climate solutions as well as a gateway to my ongoing series on the core solutions.

By core climate solution, I mean a technology-based strategy that can provide at least one half of a “stabilization wedge” by mid-century. Even half a wedge is huge — some 350 Gigawatts baseload power (~2.8 billion Megawatt-hours a year) or 160 billion gallons of gasoline. For the record, the U.S. consumed about 3.7 billion MW-hrs in 2005 and about 140 billion gallons of motor gasoline.

The world needs to deploy 12 to 14 wedges by 2050 if we want to keep total global warming at or below 2°C and avoid crossing the carbon cycle tipping points that would drive us inexorably toward catastrophic climate impacts (see “IEA report: Climate Progress has the 450-ppm solution about right”). The core climate solutions I have been detailing are the ones put forward in “Is 450 ppm politically possible? Part 2: The Solution.” They include:

I am also in the process of going through each of the links above and making sure they are “one stop shop” posts with updated lists of related posts written after they were posted. So, for instance, the energy efficiency and nuclear power pieces now have links to all of the subsequent posts in their multipart series.


I am always interested in suggestions as to other solutions to write about. Yes, I am planning a series on (the cruel hoax of) geo-engineering.

I tend to focus on technology-based solutions because behavior-based solutions are much harder to analyze and frankly much harder to achieve through government policy — at least for now. In ten years, when gasoline prices are well past $5 a gallon and even conservatives see that the painful reality of human-caused global warming has come faster and harder than they ever imagined, many strategies that are not politically feasible today will be desperately pursued as the world descends into what I have called Planetary Purgatory.

I hope people find this post useful and link to it or send it friends.

[I’m sticking this on the front page for a few days for the new readers here from Tom Friedman’s column.]