Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tierney on Carbon Tracking

John Tierney has a fantastic article as always. In today's article, he goes through his plan to combat global warming and reduce carbon emissions.

Two passages are worthy of quoting in full:

We can’t even prepare properly for something as straightforward as our own retirement. We’ll put in long hours shopping for a cellphone or a television set, but we’re too busy to agonize over pension plans: in one study, most people spent less than an hour choosing theirs. We’re not good at making immediate sacrifices for an abstract benefit in the future. And this weakness is compounded when, as with climate change, we have a hard time even understanding the problem or the impact of our actions today.
And after explaining how he would use a fashion statement to encourage carbon reduction (read the article to learn how):
This would be a strictly voluntary system — climate contrarians could either ignore it or proudly wear their flashing red lapel pins — and it would cost taxpayers nothing.
But by encouraging people to find the most efficient ways to conserve energy, this nudge might do more good than some of the expensive subsidies being handed out in Congress.
Besides putting the enthusiasm of greens to practical use, this fashion statement might also inject some realism into the debate about global warming. Once you start keeping track of all the energy you use, you begin to see the difficulties of making drastic reductions — and the difference between effective actions and ritual displays.
Well worth reading in full.

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