Now to the nitty gritty. How do we kill this monster? First, let’s try to define it. The monster is commonly known as global warming or climate change, but these are really symptoms of the problem rather than the problem itself, which is an excess of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and an ongoing process resulting in increasing the concentration of these gases. Again we’re not at the root cause. The gases are produced in a variety of ways; exhaust from fossil fuel burning vehicles, factories producing electricity, cows (and people) farting, tundra outgassing, forest fires, wood stoves, etc.
What are some of the root causes of these processes:
- Vehicle emissions: too much driving, especially inefficient gas guzzlers
- Power plants: too many dirty coal-fired plants
- Farting: not enough vegetarians and too damn many people. I know veggies fart too, sometimes excessively, but we don’t need the stinkin’ cows.
- Tundra outgassing: feedback loop- solve the other problems and this one goes away
- Forest fires: similar to above. Forest fires are a natural phenomenon, but global warming is making the problem worse generating another feedback loop
- Wood stoves: charming, but not worth the cost to the environment. Encourage passive solar heating, better insulation
It’s an incomplete list, but I’m not laying out a comprehensive solution here, just getting some ideas flowing. According to Al, we need to work on all of these problems simultaneously to make an impact, but obviously some would give more bang for the buck than others. Vehicle emissions is the biggie. And it’s linked closely with the power plant issue. Gotta get people to drive less. How? Legislation limiting recreational driving & solo commuting? Better CAFÉ standards? More mass transit? Stop suburban sprawl? Or, do we accept people will always demand this ‘way of life’ and instead focus on non-internal combustion vehicles? Probably both.
My feeling is that none of this is going to happen to the degree necessary to have an impact as long as gas is relatively cheap. Our foreign policy is driven by the need to keep gas cheap, thereby exacerbating the problem. Maximum bang for the buck comes from doing the energy independence thing. How? Change foreign policy. How? Wake people up. Our policies are driven by the electorate, but the electorate must become better informed. An Inconvenient Truth is a great start- hope it wins a couple of Oscars. Need more of this. Also need to break down the propaganda machine that tries to distract us into thinking the biggest problem we face is fear of a terrorist attack. This means investigate and prosecute the propagandists. Time to drum the business as usual crowd out of office. Nov. 06 was a start, but we need the executive branch. We also need to know that the next president is on board with the new vision of the future. We need someone who understands what we’re up against and has the charisma and pop appeal to sway the masses to change their thinking. Maybe Obama with Gore as chief adviser. Need to see where Barrack stands.