So what’s the takeaway here? Are we doomed? Achim Steiner, UNEP‘s executive director says that we should take the study as a wake up call and reason to make even more extensive cuts. “The message is not to sit back and resign and say we will never make it,” Steiner told reporters in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian island of Bali, at a major U.N. environment meeting. “But it’s not enough at the moment and there are other options that can be mobilised.”
What are these options? Steiner explained that one alternative is to invest in a scheme called reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), which pays poor countries to preserve and enhance their forests. While we may not be able to get more countries to agree to reduced emissions, we can counteract the emissions by saving forests which soak up large amounts of planet-warming CO2. The point is that in light of this disheartening evidence, we can’t wait around for countries to make more cuts. Other options need to be explored in order (and possibly even made lucrative for private investors) in order for us to reach a level where we can feel comfortable about the Earth’s future.