Monday, June 09, 2008

Dept. of easy calls

I don't know why this ever left the discussion, but Joe Romm points out something rather important at Gristmill: for all the big-big-big numbers thrown around when talking about mitigating climate change, it's worth noting the direct, calculable, brass-tacks benefits. For example, investing in fuel-efficient cars will reduce your gasoline bill.

If we can capture those kinds of efficiencies on a broader level – and there's every reason to think we can – then the costs of mitigating climate change basically pay for themselves. And neither I nor Romm are talking out of our asses here – the International Energy Agency, an OECD body charged with looking ahead on energy issues for the developed world, agrees with us.

Or, to put it the way David Roberts once did (can't find the link right now): if we push for a solution for climate change, we will almost by definition get energy security as a happy side effect. If we push for energy security alone, we are likely to doom the planet with coal-based gasoline. (Please, please, please no Vice-President Schweitzer!)

It's not really that tough a choice, and according to a growing consensus, it will probably save us money in the long run, especially if you think counting pollution as a cost instead of a benefit makes sense.

3 comments:

Catelli said...

For example, investing in fuel-efficient cars will reduce your gasoline bill.

This is where I believe government needs to step in. (Federal, Provincial, municipal, I no longer care)

I would love to invest in a more fuel efficient car, I would love to have solar panels on my roof, I would love to have tankless water heaters, etc. etc. etc.

My my debt load won't allow it. Even though there are long term benefits, the monthly payments on the debt accrued exceed the savings. This is where most people are trapped. I'm fortunate in that my overall debt load is dropping despite rising costs. At some point in the near future I will be able to afford these investments. However, I will still be implementing them piecemeal. If I'm lucky, I will be as energy self sufficient as technology allows within the next 20 years without obtaining an exorbitant amount of debt.

20 years is still too long, to be frank. And most people are not in that position, their monthly costs are rising faster than their ability to pay them off.

York regions pilot to offer interest free loans for green energy installations, is a wonderful idea. We need more program like that, and we need them accelerated now.

Catelli said...

Ugh, note to self. Check grammer and speling before cliking pulbish.

JessicaYogini said...

It's even better than this. What we will basically be doing is replacing fossil fuel with technology/intelligence. And that should push toward more good jobs that will create a demand for more education. A society where more people have a chance to lead full and meaningful lives.