Waiting on Washington: Energy

October 28, 2010

We’re all aware that Washington failed to act on a climate and energy bill. I don’t want to spend time arguing about whether that’s a good thing or delving into the reasons why it happened (if you are interested, there’s a great piece from the New Yorker–it’s seriously long, but it’s very informative). I personally think the failure to act is disappointing, even though the watered-down version that ultimately survived the political process may have been more favors to oil companies than a boon for the environment; nevertheless, it’s time to move on.

So what now? What can we do? I assume you’re here in the first place because you care about how your use of energy affects the environment. The first step towards making changes is acknowledging the need for change. Once we do that, it’s time to make a commitment–let’s be honest, the changes that are really necessary are difficult and uncomfortable. This commitment can’t be ambiguous, like “I want to use less energy.” We need to detail our commitments. When two people get married, they often recite vows, which are promises to each other. We need to vow to the environment that we are going to use energy more responsibly. We need to vow to make these decisions every day. Until we make a commitment, we’re just foolin’ around.

My actions are very important. Your actions are very important. We, together, need to form a voice that carries beyond our homes and social circles and to the decision makers at KCP&L and BP and Ford. If Washington won’t listen, let’s send our message to those who will listen–the companies that want our money.

Speaking of KCP&L, this is one of my actions: I plan to contact KCP&L to see what it will take for them to offer a green energy purchasing option.  Over 600 utilities nationwide offer to their customers the option to pay a surcharge (ranging from .5 cents to 5 cents per kW/hr) to receive energy from a green source (wind, solar, etc.). KCP&L offers no such option. I’m convinced there are enough KC metro residents who would pay this surcharge, and if I have to rally those residents, I’m willing to do so.

What’s your action? We’re all in unique places, we have different schedules, and we have various resources and talents, but we can all advance a cause that certainly needs our attention. This isn’t just about riding your bike, or turning down your thermostat, or taking shorter showers. No, it’s about all of those things, plus anything else you can think of. It’s about living a lifestyle that decreases the burden on our environment. That may mean placing more burden on our shoulders, and it may mean placing more burden on our bank accounts, but we’re talking about our values. We’re talking about future generations. Are your values worth making a sacrifice? Are your children and grandchildren worth making a sacrifice?

If you’re looking for ways to act, try asking friends what they’re doing. Take an inventory of the ways you use energy, and brainstorm ideas on using less. Or you can sign up with Sierra Club to be a climate leader in your city. Be creative.

Let’s make a vow today. If in order for you to follow through on your vow, you need to tell somebody, so it’s not just in your head, then tell somebody. Or write it down. Make a poster for your yard. Put a note by your thermostat that says “don’t touch me, get a blanket.” There are hundreds of ways, but let’s get serious.  Know this: we will all make a decision today. Your decision is either action or inaction. Are you committed, or are you just foolin’ around?


3 Responses to “Waiting on Washington: Energy”

  1. rogerthesurf said

    “That may mean placing more burden on our shoulders, and it may mean placing more burden on our bank accounts, but we’re talking about our values. We’re talking about future generations. Are your values worth making a sacrifice? Are your children and grandchildren worth making a sacrifice?”

    Does your notion of “sacrifice” extend to ruining your economy and therefore starving yourselves and your children in order to meet the CO2 emission reductions demanded by the IPCC?

    Perhaps the situation is worth looking at in just a little more detail and by using your own reasoning, not just by adhering to the official line.

    A good question (amongst many). Why is the economic cost of CO2 reduction and wealth transfers for western economies omitted from all IPCC reports?
    (Do not confuse this subject with Climate Change Mitigation Costs)
    Maybe if we have to starve, to save the world, it may be in order to examine the evidence predicting global conflagration a little more closely, just in case we all starve ourselves for no good reason.




  2. mr.eggsandsoup said

    Roger, thanks for your comment.

    We obviously disagree on how serious a problem global warming is. I base my belief on the myriad scientists who agree that it is a problem (visit http://www.ucsusa.org). I checked out your blog, which I found amusing and informative, and it seems that you recognize that the globe may be warming, but it’s not anthropogenic, and it may not be a problem. For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that you’re correct. Should we still go to all possible lengths to move away from burning coal and chugging petroleum, which are polluting the air and water? Based on your blog, I think you’d agree that we should.

    Now, let’s assume that I’m correct, or rather the scientists with whom I agree are correct. I don’t think ruining our economy or starving anyone is necessary. The Congressional Budget Office has examined proposed legislation and determined that the rewards would outweigh the costs, and over the next decade, such legislation would actually reduce the deficit.

    Okay, so we don’t agree on the global warming problem, but we agree that we’re abusing the planet (we also agree that Al Gore is a hypocrite). We are trashing the earth at a considerable rate (overflowing landfills, polluting water, etc.). What I believe to be a potential solution for global warming, you believe is necessary to care for the planet. So we can work together to reduce our impact on the earth, and in the end, time will tell which of us is correct.


  3. rogerthesurf said


    Thanks for your answer

    The first thing I would like to point out that it is important not to mix the issues.

    1. Should we respect and nuture our planet? Absolutely yes we should. We absolutely need to address polution of the seas, waterways and minimise pollution from industry etc.

    2. Should we conserve our fossil energy and use it only wisely? Yes of course we should.

    3.Will CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere caused by our industry and population, if unchecked, eventually cause the death of our planet? Ooops sorry, there is no proof or logic behind that assertion, although if you come across and empirical evidence to the contrary, I will among the first to embrace it.

    Why worry about AGW then if I do not believe in it?
    Did I worry about the theory of evolution or plate techtonic theory? Not at all, because whether these theories are right or wrong, it does not effect me or my family. eg we will get earth quakes etc either way.

    But Anthropogenic Global Warming? The belief in this is likely to effect us all adversely very much indeed, regardless if there is any truth behind the yet to be proven “anthropogenic CO2 causes Global Warming” because:
    The cost of meeting the CO2 emission reductions and the wealth transfers demanded by the IPCC will simply break western economies.
    What does a broken economy mean?
    It means fewer jobs, perhaps none. It means poverty and probably starvation. It will not be just a few dollars out of paypacket every month.
    The fact that this subject is absent from any IPCC reporting, and indeed some sources would have us believe it will be the opposite, concerns me and anyone who has a few clues about economics.
    In your case, sit down and imagine what the effect on you and your family would be if the price of oil rose so much that to fill your car up cost more than your monthly salary? Not only would your car be almost useless, but imagine the price of transporting food to your supermarket. Could the business you work for operate with a rise in costs like that? Think of other essential products that you need and think how much oil is used for their production.

    Well I will leave you to ponder on that one. My point being that the IPCC is really ready to break our economies over an UNPROVEN theory.
    What I am saying is, before we break our economies, in order to save the planet, let us see some better proof that AGW is real.

    Trust you get my drift.




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