Saturday, October 26, 2013

Reduce Carbon Emissions by 10%

We hear a lot about our personal responsibility to reduce the use of gasoline because it not only pollutes the atmosphere, but contributes to the warming of the earth by emitting carbon-based gases that trap heat. The latest government initiatives are to run the fossil fuel (mostly coal) electric generation plants out of business. Wasn't that one of the campaign promises a few years ago?

Why is it that we don't have an outcry about airplanes? Every day, 1.4 million barrels of jet fuel is consumed in the skies over the US. That is about one-tenth of the usage of gasoline and diesel used on the roads and railroads of America, but it seems that when those carbon atoms are placed at 33,000 feet above earth, they may be less responsive to "sequestering" (now there's a good word spoiled by recent usage!) by plants like the CO2 emitted closer to earth.

Quit burning jet fuel, reduce carbon emissions immediately by 10%. Wreak havoc with the economy, of course, and make a lot of things inconvenient, for sure, but when we buy a seat on an airplane, we need to remember our personal contribution to this problem.

Since in the US we will not permit the production of electricity with nuclear plants like in France and Japan, we are pretty much stuck with fossil-fuel plants. Yes, let's disrupt the environment with wind generation and capture the rays of the sun and make electricity, but that is currently producing 1.1% (wind) and 0.06% (photovoltaic), or virtually nothing of the world's power. Hydro is great, it accounts for 16% of the world's production, but it is also not going to be expanded in the US; and China, the world leader in that category pretty much used up its last bountiful site.

Any reduction, planes or power, will crush the US economy. Let's not fool ourselves about that or about the dominance of things like fossil-fuel power plants and air transportation. Instead, let's concentrate on cars and trucks. Like the old story, it isn't where you should look, it is where the light is better.

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