Nothing short of massive reductions in energy use will have the impact to slow and possibly reverse climate change now affecting the Earth in the form of runaway global warming. As former director of the Earth Day Energy Fast, I now propose the 75-50-25 Plan: Industrialized nations are asked to cut back their use of man-made energy by 75% by 2015, Emerging nations 50%, and the rest by 25%. Massive collective effort by all sectors of society - government, industry, academia, and individuals - starting now, is what is required. It may be too late, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Juneau, Alaska has made massive cutbacks - after an avalanche cut off the majority of its power supply. The rest of the world can apply this model and can do it today. It requires governments to lead in this global effort. 88% of greenhouse gases are caused by energy use and its extraction, production, transportation, refinement, etc. Energy use intersects with all human lives. Humans are disaster-reactive, and disaster is upon us now. Cutting out energy waste is free, saves money, and can be done today - right now. Al Gore's Challenge seemed to give short shrift to cutting out energy waste ("efficiency" and "conservation" to use eco code words), instead focusing on market approaches - as in transitioning consumers and the marketplace to new energy models and sources. The Earth's climate crisis is so bad that even Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens has a Plan to address the crisis, but he also favors market shifts rather than simply cutting out the waste.
Earth Climate Crisis grew out of the Earth Day Energy Fast [Internet Archive listings], which I conceived and ran from 1991 to 2007. EDEF's mission was simple: take the most widely-known day to celebrate nature and use it as a mechanism to engage people to take action each Earth Day observance to create real change that benefitted nature and which could be measured (and hopefully participants would apply energy-saving techniques henceforth). Alas, the disengagement of two generations of young people (Gen-X and Gen-Y), the ossification of the US environmental leadership, the emasculation of Earth Day as a policy instrument, the intrusion of the non-profit 501-C3 money-chasing mentality, as well as simple petty feuds, prevented the campaign from becoming widely-known and being permanently integrated into Earth Day observances. Today such efforts as Earth Hour pick up where Energy Fast left off, but have even smaller goals than one day - an hour! Climate events overtook the EDEF campaign and I could not in good conscience ask people to cut back or go without man-made energy each Earth Day knowing as I do that such efforts will no longer suffice.
Earth Day appeared on the political and social scene as an outgrowth of 1960s student activism - in response to an array of environmental catastrophes, and benefitting from energized young Americans' opposed to the Vietnam War. By 1970 an official day was chosen (April 22, although some celebrate on other dates) and in its first few years the observance created momentum which led to the creation of powerful environmental law in the United States, and the observance for a while served as a focal point for a robust environmental movement. Within 10-15 years, however, people began asking why Earth Day seemed to be an entertainment-oriented concert in the park instead of focused on real political solutions and/or hands-on actions. Then came commercialization and the non-profit money-scramble and a dearth of young people from either Gen-X or Gen-Y to bring new vision, life and political relevance to Earth Day. My effort with Earth Day Energy Fast attempted to address these faults, but it didn't gain traction, regretfully. Now Earth Day is sneered at by real environmentalists as a silly PR instrument and is flatly ignored by policy-makers - it is schoolkids in animal costumes, building Earth globes or doing a token beach cleanup. The final nail in the coffin of Earth Day was pounded in by one of Earth Day's founders, Denis Hayes, when he chose actor Leonardo DiCaprio to serve as "Chairman" for the 30th Anniversary event in 2000. The commingling of entertainment and politics had by then become viewed as normal and reached its zenith yet became the nadir for Earth Day.
Is a new slowdown of the sun's dynamo going to save us from climate change and provide the Earth's people with a perfectly-timed period of cooling? August 2008 recorded zero sunspots, a scenario not seen since 1913. If the scientists referenced in this link are correct, we are entering a new solar minimum and a prolonged period of cooling. Lucky us. Maybe.