No time to waste

“Frustrated with the federal response to global warming, hundreds of cities, suburbs and rural communities across the nation have taken bold steps to slash their energy consumption and reduce emissions of the pollutants that cause climate change.” Los Angeles Times

Switching city vehicles to biofuels, exacting a “climate tax” on electricity use, planting trees along streets, capturing methane from landfills — some of the ways locals are doing their part. The federal government can do a lot toward cutting carbon loads, like a 55 mph speed limit, letting regulatory agencies like the EPA perform their compliance duties without political interference, make the tax codes reward climate friendly behavior — but there is way too much expectation of what Washington will actually do.

Climate saving prescriptions from Washington, lately, always push industrial-style solutions, like huge solar and wind farms, or wholesale conversion of the nation’s entire fleet of vehicles to biofuels or hydrogen, which are good goals, but they all implicitly require the buy-in and leadership of the Exxons and PG&E’s of the world to pull off. It’s almost as if Washington’s real goal is to make sure that the present titans of energy remain titans forever, and intends to manage our energy future solely to maintain the status quo for a few corporate giants. But maybe that is too cynical of me.

In any case, relying purely on new technology means that precious little is done today to either conserve energy or reduce climate heating emissions. Deployment must wait until it is cost efficient (always begging the question, cost efficient for whom?), when it is plain that any delay exacerbates an already worsening situation.

So it makes sense that responsibility has devolved to state and local government, and it’s possible that they may come up with more immediate, realistic on-the-ground measures than seems forthcoming from Washington. One hopes.


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