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KPBS Midday Edition

Environmentalist Offers Hope For Climate Restoration

The orange haze covering the San Diego skyline on Sept. 15, 2020, because of smoke from wildfires across California, including the Valley Fire in rural East County.
Matthew Bowler
The orange haze covering the San Diego skyline on Sept. 15, 2020, because of smoke from wildfires across California, including the Valley Fire in rural East County.
The news is relentlessly bleak and scary: Record heat and wildfires in California and the West; a parade of deadly, destructive storms in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico; 100 degree temperatures in the Arctic; massive ice sheets breaking up in Antarctica and Greenland. All happening amid a pandemic. Yet in the Washington Post comes a headline of hope … “Stopping Climate Change Could Cost Less than Fighting Covid-19.”

Reading of record heat and wildfires in the West; deadly, destructive storms in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico; 100-degree temperatures, peat fires in the Arctic; and massive ice sheets breaking up in Antarctica and Greenland, it can seem as if the climate apocalypse is just around the corner.

But it doesn't have to arrive, say Rick Parnell and Sir David King writing in the Washington Post.

Parnell, president and chief executive of the Foundation for Climate Restoration and former chief operating officer of the United Nations Foundation, told Midday Edition on Monday the world can make a very real difference in climate change — can actually reverse the damage and restore the climate — for less than what it has spent already fighting COVID-19.

Parnell notes that more is needed than mitigation efforts such as solar and wind power and carbon-neutral vehicles. What must happen is the removal of the carbon already in the atmosphere, and the technologies already exist to do that.