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Don't expect greenhouse gas emissions to change

Former U.S. vice president Al Gore told us to pay more attention to climate change.

A new UN report on climate change says greenhouse gas emissions rose faster from 2000 to 2010 than they did in the previous three decades, and the United States is one of the worst offenders.  

Part of the reason why is that the US and China still burn too much coal. In addition, emissions are rising faster because developing countries have joined the party.  

But don't expect things to change much: emissions are just too easy to ignore.

"Carbon dioxide is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas.  So it’s very easy to emit it without us noticing much or caring," says Dale Jamieson, a professor of environmental studies at New York University.  

The report does say the cost of wind and solar power is going down.  But the US still needs to improve its power transmission lines. 

“There could be barriers and obstacles to getting the energy from where the sun is falling, for example, and getting it to large cities that need it,” says Union of Concerned Scientists senior climate scientist Brenda Ekwurzel.

Of course, we could always conserve energy...  

The report says tightening efficiency standards for buildings and vehicles can really help.

 

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

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