Steps We Can Implement Now

Fareed Zakaria: "We need to reduce emissions sharply, and now. Here’s what we could do right away.

First, stop retiring nuclear power plants and start building new ones. Nuclear power is a zero-emissions fuel that is always on.

Second, we need to get coal — the dirtiest fuel — from 20 percent of our electricity supply down to zero. Where possible, we should replace it with wind, solar or biomass. But the easiest, quickest way will often be to use natural gas, which still produces half the carbon emissions. We should also get the developing world to stop building coal-fired plants, many of them Chinese-sponsored, and instead help them build power plants to run on U.S. natural gas.

Third, electric cars have come of age and can replace internal combustion vehicles, and we should speed this transition by building out thousands of charging stations.

Fourth, industry releases about a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and is hard to decarbonize. (Very high heat is often needed, and some chemical processes unavoidably release carbon dioxide.) So we should require the use of currently available carbon-capture technologies, including a massive expansion of the oldest one we know of: trees.

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