This song uses the melody from Paul Simon’s “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover.” The ideas were developed by Professors Stephen Pacala and Robert Socolow at Princeton’s Carbon Mitigation Institute.  You should read their article in Scientific American. I’ve used the CMI’s Carbon Stabilization Wedges Game with my students: it’s a great activity. Scroll down to view the lyrics, or click here for a downloadable pdf of the lyrics (with explanatory footnotes) on a separate page.

Seven Ways to Reduce Carbon

(To the tune of “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” by Paul Simon)

The climate forecast it seems grim, she said to me
If parts per million CO2 gets much past 350
In 1800 it was only 280
We must find, seven ways to reduce carbon

Seven billion tons of carbon we put out last year,
Without reductions, the outcome is so clear,
More than 500 ppm, it fills me up with fear
We must find seven ways to reduce carbon,
Seven ways to reduce carbon

Boost fuel economy, Dee
Drive our cars less, Bess
Turn down the watts, Scott
In your buildings and homes
Raise coal efficiency, Lee
When making electricity
Burn gas not coal, Lowell
To get carbon control.

Start CCS, Jess
Make H2 for cars, Lars
Don’t cut those trees, Louise
They absorb CO2
Increase wind 80 fold, Joel
Main thing’s to burn less coal,
Get past fossil fuels, Jules
And keep the Earth cool.

She said there’s one idea which might work like a charm,
It’s carbon stabilization, with a triangular form,
Stabilization means we might not over warm,
It’s part of seven ways to reduce carbon.

A stabilization wedge is carbon not released
Twenty five billion tons of carbon makes one piece.
Twenty five billion over half a century
Amounts to one fine way to reduce carbon,
And we need seven wedges of cut carbon


Some other ways, she said, will help us earn this prize,
Human population quickly needs to stabilize,
Past another billion souls there should be no more rise,
If we want any way to reduce carbon

Reduction policies, they should be on fast tracks
We need carbon fees and rebates, or a carbon tax
It’s time to move it’s time for all to face the facts
We must find seven ways to reduce carbon,
Seven ways to reduce carbon.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Karen Kendrick-Hands

    Carbon Change advocacy can be grim and battering, for this humorless zealot.
    I am singing and smiling! as a member of Citizens’Climate Lobby,, I would love to see our Carbon Fee and Dividend policy mentioned sooner and more clearly in your wonderful adaptation of favorite song from my favorite singer/songwriter Paul Simon.
    You made my Earth Day!!

    1. Mr. W

      You’ve made my day, too, Karen. Please check out my other climate change songs. I’d love to know what you think!

Comments are closed.