Many people are concerned about a number of articles including one that appeared in the journal, Nature, recently, which drew the conclusion that the planet will warm by at least 4º C. (7.2º) if global warming is allowed to go on unchecked. This was written as a result of the IPCC report that came out this fall and is quite alarming to read. (See our January 1st posting in Green Energy News on this website). We would like to comment.
First, everyone should note that this is a study, and that the conclusions it reaches are based on the assumption that global warming will go on unchecked. However, we have faith, hope and reason to believe that globally, work on the climate will increase, both in scope and in effectiveness. In fact we have no reason to believe otherwise.
Nevertheless, we might make some suggestions. First, giving up is as bad is staying in denial. Both mean that someone who could help fix the problem will remain among those who are causing the problem, making it worse.
Second, what the study points to is that the need for action is urgent. But it is telling us that the need is there, not that it is too late. Panic is only marginally better than apathy. We need to be as wise as possible, but we need to do attend to the solutions as soon as possible, and then to act decisively.
Third, we need to remember that nearly everyone is either part of the problem or part of the solution. In order to succeed in dealing with climate change, we have to get as many people on the solution side as possible. That means every person who understands the problem acts on it, and every person who does not understand must be told.
An interesting point about this is that those people who act first are most likely to be those who are hurt least. And conversely, those who go into denial or self-indulgently decide to pursue apathy are the same people who are likely to be hurt the most.
Anyone who wonders what to do can review the list of things each of us should have done long ago to start with. The 3 largest offenders that are the cause of the rising CO2 levels that the Climate Reports are warning us about are:
- Building Inefficiency
- Energy Inefficiency
Among the easiest solutions is to stop wasting fuel and energy. For instance, create a building envelope where you both live and where you work. Insulate and weatherproof buildings – there are many programs that can help you accomplish this. The savings in your cost of living and to the emissions that you won’t be contributing to are a huge part of the solution – seal and insulate buildings for maximum building efficiency. Dress warmly and use lower heat settings, in the very least. Drive less and switch to cars that consume less fuel (EVs if possible), walk, bicycle, or use public transportation; completely shut off lights and appliances that are not needed or in use (including your computer); eat local foods and foods that require less energy input (beef requires more than pork and poultry, poultry requires more than fish); grow your own food; reuse, repurpose, recycle, and reclaim. Compost, stop the waste cycle. Buy in bulk with your own containers and packaging. Shop and support local! All these are ideas we all should have adopted long ago.
We have all the technology we need to stop global warming, live nearly as comfortable as we do now, and be healthier at the same time. We have all the technology we need, in fact, to reverse global warming. New technology is coming that will make the job easier, but we need to use what we already have available now. Waiting for something else is not an option.
The technologies we have are impressive. We can capture carbon dioxide and catalyze it with hydrogen into methane, which can be stored and used in plants built to burn natural gas. This is already being done in Europe. We can store power from wind turbines and solar panels using pumped storage, compressed air, more than a dozen kinds of chemical batteries, as heat in salt, and in numerous other systems. We can capture the carbon dioxide in the air, turn it to carbon, and sequester it in the soil, making the soil richer in the process.
The science is all well known, tried, and true. Much of it is a hundred years old. The only reason we do not use it now is that oil pumped from the ground is cheaper, and that is changing as the price of oil goes up. We need to start using these options right away.
Get the conversations and actions going, and keep them continually moving ahead, with your family, friends; and don’t forget to let YOUR CONGRESSMAN know you want change – NOW! We can stop global warming before the damage gets too bad – but we must act as soon as possible. We need their help and support and we need each person on this planet to do more!
Two interesting political suggestions come to mind. One is a strong recommendation from the United Nations that countries stop providing the fossil fuel industry with the $545 billion it gets in subsidies each year. That, it is suggested, would go a long way toward solving the problem.
Another is institution of a carbon tax. It does not have to be punishment. The intention is simply to have an income from the use of fossil fuels that is sufficient to offset the damage they do.
We have been examining this question for years, and are convinced the solutions are before us, waiting to be implemented. And when they are, the planet will be better off. And so will we.
Be sure to read and share each issue of Green Energy Times. We are all about solutions. Learn from our examples, stories, and help to be part of the solutions and move us all to a sustainable future for us all. Do YOUR part…. NOW!