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Climate change

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While technology is advancing and technologies such as [[thin film solar photovoltaics]]{{wp sup|thin film solar photovoltaics}} (e.g. copper indium gallium diselenide{{wp sup|copper indium gallium diselenide}}) offer great hope. However, the rate of progress is uncertain, and as climate change is already happening, action is needed now, without waiting for these new technologies.
The logical place to start is in the area where potential gains are greatest and costs are lowest. This is '''[[energy efficiency]]''', and it offers cost savings in many areas. Thus the most important, pressing actions to be taken can be taken immediately without economic penalty, with suitable planning. Financial planning is an important aspect of this, as investment now may be required to gain long term benefits; it may be important to have programs such as [[light bulb ]] exchanges or loans for energy efficiency measures (perhaps paid off through electricity bills<ref>If the energy company benefits from people using more energy, there may be a conflict of interest, so different reward models need to be explored; when the energy company is a government-owned corporation, this may give more flexibility to apply a different modelin order to encourage uptake. (See [[Incentives for sustainability]] and [[Incentives to pollute]].</ref>) in order to encourage uptake.
Another measure is [[renewable energy]], which is more attractive in some locations than others (e.g. [[solar ]] and [[biodiesel ]] may be the most cost effective sources of electricity in a sunny isolated location, and [[solar hot water]] is perhaps the most cost-effective form of renewable energy in most locations{{fact}}). At this stage the majority of the population in [[developed countries ]] have access to renewable energy through "green energy" offered by electricity companies (which may or may not be truly "green", to varying degrees). The cost premium for such energy is very modest compared with most people's overall living costs (and modest compared with the money that most people spend on luxuries or entertainment).
[[Simple living]] offers various ways of reducing impact as well. To have a serious impact, these need to be actions which appeal to a large number of people, which may be very difficult without changes at the community level. These include promotion of behavior changes, and changing infrastructure in ways that encourage lower-energy behavior. Building of [[cycleways ]] rather than highways, making communities more walkable, making [[public transport ]] a more attractive option, and introducing congestion charges (as in London) are supported by many sustainability advocates and organizations.
Ensuring that buyers of houses and other buildings have access to all appropriate information about energy costs, livability (which improves with good [[passive solar ]] design) and environmental impact, could make a big difference to the building industry, and ensure that sustainability is taken more seriously by more builders.
Note that the cost balance may appear different if [[externalities ]] are accounted for - e.g. deaths due to vehicles, including emissions; improved health from cycling and walking reducing acting to reduce health costs and improving improve productivity; and possibly even social cohesion as a result of people mingling on cycle, foot, and public transport, instead of traveling by car.
== The science of climate change ==
'''Global warming''' refers to the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. Global warming is accepted as the scientific consensus.
The global average air temperature near the Earth's surface rose 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the last 100 years. The Intergovernmental [[Panel on Climate Change ]] ([[IPCC]]) concludes, "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic [[greenhouse gas ]] concentrations"[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming#_note-grida7] via the [[greenhouse effect]].
==Contrarian views==
*[[Renewable energy]]
*[[Incentives for sustainability]]
*[[Drought]]
*[[Flooding]]
*[[Sea level rise]]
==Notes==
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