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2 degrees and you

The average per-capita global carbon footprint necessary to slow global warming isn't as unattainable as it sounds.

By Evan Anderson


In the world of climate change science, there is often much bad news to digest. Nowhere does this shine through in narratives of climate change issues quite as harshly as in descriptions of the "carbon budget" - how much carbon we can emit before we reach potentially catastrophic average temperature change.

Here in the United States, we regularly hear that the average American consumes many times the sustainable amount of carbon per year. Even more frustrating is that, because of the inherent nature of our broader systems and infrastructure, it is hard to lower our individual carbon footprint below certain thresholds.

While such reports are useful, they are also potentially demotivating, at a time when human motivation is a much-needed commodity in the fight against climate change. While much of the bad news we hear is both correct and important, this week's issue will take a look at the good news hiding behind some of the darker statistics.