Friedman continues to represent the science.

Thomas Friedman, the author of Hot, Flat and Crowded reviewed here on Hot Topic, continues in his New York Times column to accurately reflect what climate scientists are saying .  Saturday’s column is a fine example. As Gareth did in his recent article in the Press Friedman starts by pointing out that “climate change is happening faster and will bring bigger changes quicker than we anticipated just a few years ago.”  

He quotes Christopher Field, director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University: ‘We are basically looking now at a future climate that’s beyond anything we’ve considered seriously in climate model simulations.’

Friedman is ever the optimist, and later details recommendations from a new large foundation Climate Works which aims to run highly targeted campaigns, focusing resources on policies that can be enacted quickly and lead to the largest possible emissions reductions. The five policies Climate Works CEO Hal Harvey selects as already proven are building and appliance efficiency codes, better vehicle fuel-efficiency standards,  mandated renewable energy, the Californian “decoupling” programme whereby utilities are rewarded for helping homeowners save energy rather than consume it, and a price on carbon.

A fairly familiar list perhaps, but in a Climate Progress post which drew my attention to the Friedman column Joseph Romm comments: “What I especially like about Friedman’s and Harvey’s policy strategies is that they don’t talk about a Manhattan project or Apollo program for technology breakthroughs.”  One of Romm’s constant themes is that accelerated wide-scale deployment of existing clean energy technology offers very good prospects for early large emission reductions.  I’ll shortly be reviewing his book Hell and High Water, in which he advances this argument energetically.

Romm also hails Friedman as ” the only major national columnist or reporter consistently warning the public of what science now tells us is likely result of continuing on our current greenhouse gas emissions path – unmitigated unconscionable catastrophe. And he is the only one laying out the solution in detail.”  It’s only a month since Romm was having to take to task the well known Washington Post columnist George Will for the sheer ignorance displayed in one of his denialist columns. The US media is still giving mixed messages on climate science, and Friedman’s unequivocal stance is very welcome.

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