Part 2- What can each of us do to reduce GW

by Ginosar  

In the first part I described some critical issues that have powerful influence of fighting GW, concluding that the effort is of immense magnitude and will require trillions. Both governments and the private sector must work together to achive it. We must push them to do so.

 

Part II. To achive reduction in GHG citizens must participate - politically.

 

Some of the key steps needed:

A - Reduce energy demand by mandatory conservation and efficiency laws,

B - Reduce GHG by reducing the emissions a from coal power plants,

C - Increase the cost of fossil fuels,

D - Increase the cost of electricity,

C - Put on line as many (near) cost-effective "green" technologies as possible.

D - Invest in R & D of new technologies

 

 

2. First we must substantially increase the cost of fossil fuels as soon as possible by taxing them at the source, or point of entry. The current approach of Cap & Trade system is highly complex, inefficient, and prone to abuse. Also the public does not trust it and does not trust the people who support it, from Congress to big business, especially the main beneficiaries, the coal industry that received free credits to allow them to operate now in a business-as-usual mode; as if we have spare time to combat GHG.

 

3. To start significant reduction in the emission of GHG in the US we will need national mandatory  laws that dictate first of all large, nation-wide, reduction in our energy consumption. Significant conservation laws and increased efficiency standards are required as the first step in any effort to reduce GHG globally. And especially in the US since we are almost the highest per capita (average per person)  emitters of GHG. And we already contributed the most GHG to the accumulated total of GHG in the atmosphere. For example: India is one of the lowest per capita emitters, (about one twentieth, 5%, of ours) and we want them to reduce their total GHG emissions significantly? They can't.

 

I wrote the above to give you a feeling of how big is the problem and how complex it is. It is almost beyond our grasp. Piecemeal changes would not make any difference!

 

 

You may say: you are telling me it is so huge, it is so complex that average citizen can not impact the problem in any meaningful way. So, what this has to do with me and what can I do about it?.

 

A very good question. So, what are our options as citizens?

 

The normal approach by good people who care about GW is to cut our own consumption of energy and material. Good steps. Every TV we buy produce GHG in China, using the dirtiest power source, coal power plants. So, we should cut your consumption. There are many suggestions from most environmental organizations what we can do. My wife and I have done it in our home for decades. Our electricity consumption is one third of most of our neighbors, according to our utility. But these steps are not enough by a long stretch.

It feels good, we know we did your part.

 

But is this the issue? Can I and any one else make a difference by our individual energy reduction? As sad as it is and as frustrated we may be, our individual energy reduction is insignificant in reality. We think that millions in the US are doing what we are doing, cutting their energy use, and the cumulative effect eventually will mater. The number of people purposely reducing their energy consumption in a significant amount is very low. It does not show in any national energy statistics. We are continuously increasing the per-capita-the average per person-use of energy.

You see, may be our friends are reducing their consumption, and we hear so much about it we get the impression that it is wide spread. It is not- data shows that most of the population are not doing it and will not do it unless forced to do so. The huge purchases of large screen TV's despite the bad economy should open our eyes to the basic American desire for MORE and More.

Most people do not change their self-centered behavior unless forced to. And only national mandatory conservation laws will make significant conservation and efficiency reduction a reality.

We can not go along the old high-consumption path and reduce our GHG emissions. It is just not possible. Green energy would not be able to do it either.

 

How do we get national, mandatory conservation, by pressuring Congress to do so. And each of us can only pressure our own three Congressional delegates: our two Senators and one House member. This is where we could make the needed impact.

 

I am well aware that we do not trust Congress. We all know the negative influence of lobbyists, and the money often associated with them, on Congressional votes. We know the corruption of some members of Congress, but that should not stop us because that is the only way open to us individually to actually impact global warming.

Experience demonstrated that a relatively small number of people can create significant counterbalance to the powerful influence of contact and money on member of Congress. Most of us do not do any effort to pressure our Congressional delegation.

How do I know this, I have organized pressure on Congress for a decade on another liberal issue. I directed a citizen lobbying effort is several states concurrently as head of a national organization and it was successful when we did it with dedication and eagerness. People can influence some of their Congresspersons. Not all Congresspersons by any means, but those who are on the margin, those that are not yet sure how to respond to GW.

 

This is a separate subject that I will detail in the next part.

 

The key is to be open is the reality that concentrating on individual energy reduction is a nice thing to do and also satisfying, but it is insignificant and would not help us at all to reduce global warming on the mass scale that it must be done.

 

End of part 2.

Part 3 soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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