WASHINGTON – Efforts to curb global warming have quietly shifted as greenhouse gases inexorably rise. The conversation is no longer solely about how to save the planet by cutting carbon emissions, it is becoming more about how to save ourselves from the warming planet’s wild weather.
It was Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent announcement of an ambitious plan to stave off New York City’s rising seas with flood gates, levees and more that brought this transition into full focus.
After years of losing the fight against rising emissions of heat-trapping gases, governments around the world are emphasizing what a U.N. Foundation scientific report terms “managing the unavoidable.”
It is called adaptation and it is about as sexy but as necessary as insurance, experts say.
It is also a message that once was taboo among climate activists such as former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. In his 1992 book “Earth in the Balance,” Gore compared talk of adapting to climate change to laziness that would distract from necessary efforts.
But in his 2013 book “The Future,” Gore writes bluntly, “I was wrong.”