Access to Tools

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by: Joel Makower

We already possess the toolkit needed to stem global warming, according to a landmark study by two Princeton University scientists.

The scientists identified 15 technologies — from renewables to conservation techniques — that are ripe for large-scale use and showed that each could solve a significant portion of the problem. Their analysis, published in the Aug. 13 issue of Science (and summarized on, indicates that many combinations of these 15 technologies could prevent global emissions of greenhouse gases from rising for the next 50 years.

The finding counters the common argument that a major new technology needs to be developed before greenhouse gasses can be controlled, said professors Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow, who conducted the study.

"We'll have to spend real money," says Socolow, "but addressing the global carbon problem now will provide a tremendous stimulus to the economy and will promote the development of needed international institutions, while averting the most serious environmental consequences."

The study, interestingly, came from a Princeton institute funded by $20 million in grants from BP and Ford.

Bottom line, say Pacala and Socolow: We know what to do, and have the tools and technologies to do it.

All we need is the will.

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