A serious split in opinion exists with regard to how to deal with the ongoing buildup of CO2 in our atmosphere. One group contends that, until the warming has more clearly expressed itself, we should put off costly actions. The other group contends that, even if we were to take immediate action, the buildup of CO2 is likely to reach an unacceptable level. Hence action must not be delayed. I stand with the second group. My opinion has been molded by the failure of model simulations to yield the impacts anywhere near as large as those attributable to orbital cycles, to ocean reorganizations, or to solar irradiance. These impacts are well documented in the paleoclimate record. This suggests to me that the models lack important feedbacks and amplifiers present in the real world. Hence they are more likely to underestimate the impacts of CO2 than overestimate them as the critics contend. The world's energy consumption will continue to rise. Because it is so cheap and so abundant, coal will dominate as a supplier. It is also my opinion that CO2 capture and burial will have to play a key role in the struggle to bring the CO2 rise to a halt. Fortunately, it appears that capture and burial are technically and economically feasible. The big question is whether the world can come together and make this happen before CO2 has reached an unacceptable level.
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