Solutions: Freeze and Cut Climate Pollution

The reductions in climate pollution that 1Sky advocates are not a negotiating position or an interest group agenda. They are the scientific bottom line – the minimum effort required to prevent catastrophic climate disruption. We need to cut carbon at least 80% below 1990 levels by 20501, and at least 25% by 20202. It's what is right, and what is necessary.

And it's possible. The cost of clean energy is falling fast. New developments, like hybrid cars, advanced public transit systems, and home energy audits are becoming more available. Many Americans are starting to switch already, but only leadership from Washington can make this transformation happen fast enough. And if we begin to get our house in order, then we can play a role in helping China and India steer away from cataclysm as well.

How are we going to get this done?

It won't be easy. It will take a social movement of unprecedented diversity, magnitude, and passion to achieve the federal policy commitment we need: responsible, science-based limits on global warming pollution. We must limit global warming pollution with an economy-wide cap to be consistent with the scientific imperative. The policy must be fair, efficient, and predictable, galvanizing the efforts of government, business, and private citizens to build a robust clean energy economy.

Equity must be at the center of our strategy for climate solutions. Because our 1 sky belongs to us all, our climate policy must invest in our common future, protect vulnerable populations, and accelerate our transition to a secure, clean economy. Pollution allowances should be auctioned and not given freely to heavily polluting industries. Revenues from sale of pollution allowances or taxes should be equitably returned to the public in the form of:

  1. Direct dividends and/or conservation assistance to offset potential rises in energy costs (also called a Sky Trust, or Cap and Dividend)
  2. Investments in accelerating our transition to a clean energy future in the U.S. and internationally, providing green economic opportunities across our society; and
  3. Adaptation funding for vulnerable communities and natural systems, both domestically and internationally, to ease the negative impacts of unavoidable climate changes and transformations in our energy policy.

Not familiar with a Carbon Cap? Check out Climate Pricing 101.


1) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group III, "Mitigation of Climate Change." See Chapter 13, box 13.7, available at http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg3/ar4-wg3-chapter13.pdf.
Dangerous climate change is expected if concentrations of global warming pollution in the atmosphere exceed 450 parts per million and the global average temperature increases by more than 3.6 degrees F or 2 degrees C from pre-industrial levels. Avoiding these thresholds requires emissions reductions of 80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050 in developed countries.

2) (See Note 1 above.) The scientific basis for reducing emissions 25-40% below 1990 levels for developed (Annex I) counties was developed by the IPCC and released in the Fourth Assessment Report. These emissions reduction targets were recently supported by the Kyoto parties in Vienna and Bali in 2007. See http://unfccc.int/files/meetings/cop_13/application/pdf/awg_work_p.pdf.

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