Monthly Archives: November 2015
We’re not going to prevent global warming. It’s that simple, and we’re just going to have to live with it. Whether you believe that global warming is man-made or a natural global phenomena; it is happening and we won’t stop it. There are multiple reasons why it won’t be stopped. China is outpacing the United States in terms of CO2 production and shows very little inclination to stop. It simply isn’t in their national interest to do so. A stable economy means a stable political environment and this means the party in power stays in power. So China won’t be reducing carbon production for the sake of reducing global warming. Additionally, there are a plethora of existing industrial countries as well as developing economies that are increasing their carbon production, which means that the U.S. piece of the carbon pie is getting smaller which in turn means that we can’t unilaterally change the global trend toward more carbon production. Even if the United States significantly reduces its carbon production, the net global effect will still be to increase. Even if there was political will in the United States to significantly reduce carbon production, there isn’t personal will. Any appreciable reduction in carbon would mean serious lifestyle changes for Americans that few would be willing to agree to. So we are in a world of adaptation now, now prevention. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be doing something in this country to stop it. We just need to find ways to reduce carbon that are congruent and consistent with other policy goals. The argument needs to change from “Is climate change real” to “What can we do that is good for the country that also reduces carbon?”
Even if you don’t believe that global warming is real, there is one fact that is indisputable. Carbon comes from combustion of energy sources. Energy sources cost money. So if you reduce energy use, you save money and you also reduce carbon. You also reduce your dependence on foreign fuel which results in greater flexibility in public policy and less need to engage in oil based foreign intervention. Strategies that deal with increasing efficiency from vehicle fuel economy to home furnaces to electrical devices are all win-win scenarios for consumers, global warming activists, business people, and climate change deniers. Energy saving technology is often new technology, and innovating new technology is something this country is good at. We should embrace the race toward energy efficiency and use the global warming issue as incentive to produce efficient products that we can sell overseas. Public policy initiatives such as reducing dependence on coal for energy production should be cast in the light of not cleaner energy, but possibly as keeping the coal in the ground as a strategic energy reserve. Fights about oil pipelines shouldn’t focus on whether or not to build the pipeline, but how to reduce the need for the oil flowing through it. We’ve been talking about reducing our dependence on foreign energy ever since the Eisenhower administration before I was even born. Every President since, has mentioned it in their State of the Union address. It’s time we developed a national consciousness and a national program akin to the manned Moon missions to actually accomplish what so many Presidents have pontificated upon.
So ask me if climate change is real, I’ll answer truthfully. I don’t know. I’m not a climate scientist. I don’t know the validity of global warming models and don’t have the time to investigate, and even if I did I suspect I’d find contradictory data and results. What I do know, is that I like my hybrid that gets 48 miles per gallon, and I like not giving the gas station all my money. I like my 90%+ efficiency furnace. I like my small but well-appointed condo by a lake. I like my lightbulbs that will probably outlive me, and I like the thought that members of our military will have even a slightly less need to be deployed overseas and be killed because my country is less dependent on overseas oil. After Sept 11, I went from a high horsepower sports car to a hybrid car. Why? I just wanted to do my part to save energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And you know what, I don’t feel like my lifestyle has been impacted or my freedom curtailed. I feel good about doing my part. We need to change the argument in Washington, the tone in Washington, and get Americans acting together; because if we act together, there is very little that Americans can’t accomplish.
Jennifer Contrisciani, MBA