Saturday, December 12

Carbon Cuts? - Not in my name!

If American's can be against the War on Terror by protesting it, declaring that it is not being done in their name, I guess I can do the same against mandatory carbon cuts in the spirit of fighting Global Warming.

The US Government has been dickering about with various plans for capping and trading CO2 greenhouse gas output. Now in the run-up to Climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, President Obama, while lacking any real plan, has declared that the US will commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

That's great, but I started thinking about what my role and contribution in all of this will be. I quickly realized that I really do not have much carbon to spare, at least not much before my lifestyle starts to get impacted negatively. I suspect that my family and I are not the greenest, however I would not say that we are wasteful. After all being wasteful also results in wasting money. That is something I am very against.

Here is a little more detail on how my family is killing the planet. This way, you'll know at least one person to blame when we are all standing knee-deep in melted glacier:
  • Air travel - This is probably the biggest 'sin' that I commit. I travel for work. I do not do it often, but when I travel it is across the Atlantic, which is sure to leave a big footprint in my wake. Also, I travel by air for vacation. My wife is from Finland so we go there once or twice a year. In both cases I have a limited ability to effect the travel schedule, however whenever possible I do try to fly the most direct route possible. Unfortunately, airlines like to route you through hubs which does make the carbon footprint larger since there is an additional take-off and landing as well as a longer route traveled. Now, we could cut back on traveling to see the parents, but that is at the cost of turning relatives into more distant ones. At least, I have no problem seeing my mother-in-law twice a year.

  • Home - I guess we are being pretty green in our current living situation in that we rent an apartment and do not live in a McMansion. So here is one for the green movement. (We are looking for a house though, partly because we are out of room...)

  • Lighting - One product being pushed as an easy way to save the environment is through the use of compact florescent light bulbs. We currently have one in the house and it happens to be in a room that also has an incandescent light. Yes, the lights are getting better, but let's be realistic, the light quality still sucks when compared to traditional (wasteful) lighting. I do hear that some are really good but I have yet to be totally impressed within a reasonable price range. Plus, I have my doubts as to how green these lights truly are. They take much more energy to produce. They use hazardous chemicals and they are much more difficult to dispose of properly. Then there are the reports that even though you use less energy, the power companies need to pump out twice as much into the grid form them to function properly due to a poor 'power factor' of many of the bulbs. So, no thank you. Plus, these are only green if they reduce energy plant emissions from a plant emitting CO2

  • Energy Use - Looking around the house, it seems that our biggest home energy use is for heating and cooling. We live in an apartment so we are limited in how we can improve the efficiency of our apartment other than blocking off the windows with more insulation. Since we do not want to feel like we are living in a cave (that damn quality of life issue again) and since the windows are double pane, we heat the house to a comfortable level. We will close the blinds at night if it is a particularly cold evening and keep the blinds low in the summer if the sun is on that side of the house to help keep the house cool. But in general we will heat/cool the house to where we find it comfortable, which is normally around 70 degrees. Sure, I can keep the house cooler in the winter and put on a sweater, and I sometimes do. However, I would like to be comfortable when home so I prefer not to wear winter clothing inside the house. If the Government has a problem with this, then maybe they should get out of the way of companies that want to bring more nuclear power online. As far as global warming goes, nuclear power is green. Environmentalists might want to take a second to recognize this very basic fact. Hell, switching to nuclear will help them reduce coal use.

  • Energy Use (cooking) - We have a gas stove and now we have a microwave. Our least green cooking task is doing barbeque, which I cover below.

  • Cars / Transportation -We are a two car family. I drive my '94 BMW that I have had since 2001. I think simply keeping this car out of the junkyard by properly maintaining it is being green enough. Two years ago we added a second newer car for my wife. I only use my car during the week to go the three miles to and from work. I could take public transportation and did when we had one car when my wife needed to use the car. However, instead of it being a 15 minute trip, going by bus takes 40 minute. Longer if we also count my time waiting to get on the first bus. My wife too could also take public transportation but with two small kids, it is just not practical. At least, when she goes around, three of the four spots in the car are occupied. As for electric and other alternative-fuel vehicles, they are just too expensive. If I was willing to spend that much money, I'd buy a luxury car. We do occasionally drive from Washington, DC to New York to visit my relatives, but given that there are four of us in the car and most of the trip was at highway speed, I think that is 'green' enough. Technically we could be a little greener by taking the train up to New York, but we still have to get to the train station as well as get to my parents once off the train. When you add in our luggage as well as the need to take two car seats along with us, it is just not practical. Not to mention much more expensive than driving. Anyway, if Al Gore can jot around the planet in private transportation, I am going to reserve that right for myself and my family as well. And one more thing. Many of you are just not pleasant to be around. Nor do I want to expose my kids to many of the freaks out there. I lived in Finland for three years without a car. It was the one thing I missed having the most. People there smoked at the buss stops, despite that being against the rules. They drank on the bus. Puked on the bus. People are rude. People smell. No thank you.

  • Barbecue - Barbecues are glacier melting CO2 emitting machines. But in the right hands they produce such good food. So I have no plans of giving up barbecues. In fact, if the planet does warm, that means a longer barbecue season for me. You can put fireplaces in the same category or even more wasteful since they are not being used cooking.

  • Food - There was a call recently for people to give up meat for the environment. I responded to that lunacy in my post 'Save the Planet - Kill The Animals' making the case that if animals are contributing to global warming to such a degree, more so that humans, then maybe we should be killing off all the animals in nature. At least those we farm are around for a purpose. Really, who are we saving the planet for?
Given the list above, it seems that I am just a pig. So be it. That said, I do look to be economical which does often have a side benefit of being greener. We do have reusable grocery bags. My wife uses them. I normally do not but the plastic bags that we do get we reuse as trash bags. This is actually a good thing given that store-bought trash bags are often much more robust and there waste more material to contain the trash. We also tend to buy bigger packages which means less waste overall.

Now before anyone goes all whiney-ass on my lack of sympathy for the planet, maybe they should first look at those who really called this mess, like global warming alarmist Al Gore. He probably wastes more energy in a day than I'll use all year.

P.S. I am not interested in having a third child, however the idiotic calls to limit families to one child are actually one reason for me to have a third child. IF for no other reason to piss off one of these lunatic liberals.

Add to Google

1 comment:

Mr. Rogers said...

You really must enjoy Blogging. it seems to me that you put a decent amount of thought into most all of your posts. I admire you for that. Good job on not being wasteful. That's the one big lesson i learned from my Grandfather, who himself learned that lesson growing up in the wake of the Great Depression. if only everyone started with that small lesson, well, I guess then we wouldn't be looking forward to pissing off the crazy alarmists when they come knocking at your door to take your barbecue apart.