This article was originally published in The Conversation.
The higher levels of heat-trapping gases from burning fossil fuels are one feature of what many call the Anthropocene, a new geological era dominated by humans.
Yet regulatory approaches to managing carbon in the Earth system are doomed to fail. This is because the rise of carbon dioxide levels — what I call the CO2 Catastrophe — is taking place at the scale of the Earth system itself. Humans are inside of that system, CO2 emissions are coupled to energy use, and increasing energy use is central to economic advancement. I have become convinced that it is simply not possible to manage energy usage from the scale of households to that of the planet itself using regulatory methods. Continue reading