Global Warming: An Economic Tale

…Actually, before I continue with my post, I would like to briefly mention the tragedy that took place at Virginia Tech on Monday. The incident truly reveals to us how quickly life can be taken away and how much we must value every moment. Our time here is too short for anger, worry, and hate. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those in mourning, and I hope all may receive comfort despite their tragic loss.

Now for global warming.

I’d like to begin by asking that my readers not leave comments regarding the validity of global warming. While I try greatly to keep an open-mind regarding just about every area of political and social life, this is one point on which I cannot “see the other side”. It is all too easy to argue with men and women in white coats standing next to charts and graphs, but when we experience horrific storms that wipe out entire U.S. cities, the time for questioning is over. Over the past 1,500 years, the world has been warming increasingly. During the Industrial Age in the 1800’s, CO2 emissions AND temperatures peaked to a new high.

Now, many may argue that the mere increase of just a deree or two really isn’t THAT big of a deal, but I beg to differ. Anyone familiar with chemistry will know that MANY reactions cannot take place until a certain temperature is reached. In these cases, being off by merely one degree will not produce a reaction. An engineer building a bridge who sets an angle at 91 degrees that should be a perfect 90 creates a structure that will crumble to the ground. Think about it: just a few inches in baseball determines the difference between a home run and a fly out. One yard makes the difference between a first down and a punt. One one tenth of a second determines whether a runner, swimmer, NASCAR driver, or cyclist finishes first or fifth. Our world is in a delicate, intricate balance that we cannot afford to continuously interrupt.

With that aside, what’s it going to take for us to make a change? My opinion: The Almighty Dollar. In a world where it is becoming less and less economically viable to depend upon oil (and less and less safe to send billions to the Middle East), environmentally, and wallet friendly alternatives are going to help motivate. My dad, for example, only switched to compact florescent bulbs when our electric bill became outrageous. When I said, “Dad…you’re saving the planet!” my father, A vehement conservative Republican, merely replied, “No I’m not. I’m saving money.”

Nonetheless, I’m still proud of him. I whole-heartedly feel (and hope) that people don’t really WANT to hurt the environment, it’s just that our old ways benefit us most. If we could only show the American public that alternatives to our bad habits are going to be better for us in both the long run AND the right-now, I think we could make some big changes.

Each compact florescent bulb, for example, save about $60 per year, produces seventy percent less heat, and lasts about ten years. The purchase of just ONE of these bulbs can save individuals about $600 during the bulb’s lifetime. Similarly, pre-programed thermostats (ones that turn the heat/AC down while you’re not home or while you’re asleep) save about $150 per year. Making sure that doors and windows are properly insulated and sealed also helps a ton…I mean c’mon, your parents always told you that you weren’t trying to heat the outdoors, right? And how about washing our clothes? An article in Time Magazine recently stated that a single t-shirt puts about 3lbs. of CO2 into the environment during its lifetime due to washing and drying. As an alternative, use warm water instead of hot water more often, and hang clothes up to dry instead of using the dryer all the time. This not only prolongs the life of your clothing, but also cuts on your energy costs.

Taking a walk instead of driving to closer locations during nice weather gives us some exercise, lowers gas costs, and even extends the life of cars (driving short distances isn’t great for one’s car, as most of us know). And how about those fule-efficient cars? Many foreign car companies are ALL OVER this market, but I feel like the U.S. is falling behind. We still INSIST on our SUV’s, but how profitable could the production of extremely fuel-efficient cars be for the American economy? More jobs and more money staying within the U.S. instead of sending it to Asia and Europe is something I think we can all agree on.

Many entrepenures are getting a jump on the “alternative” market because they see what many every day Americans do not: money. What’s to not like about saving money and giving back a little bit to the environment? Currently, there is a tax on businesses that use more than their alloted share of CO2. This doesn’t always prove to be an effective way of reducing their CO2 output though because the businesses that don’t use their entire share sell the rest off to other companies. Instead, why don’t we offer tax cuts to those who stay under their limit? There is a whole mess of things that we can do.

I’ve often fought with a friend of mine about the urgency of the situation. In my defense, I don’t understand why it’s such a bad thing to be worried? Why is it such a bad thing to be prepared? Even if global warming isn’t as urgent as many believe, I really don’t think it’s such a horrible thing to be prepared. How many times would we kick ourselves if 50 years from now the frightening predictions came true? “If only we…” and “Why didn’t we just…”

I suppose this was sort of a disjointed blog, but global warming is such a large topic, it’s hard to go about it in a short, organized manner…at least for me anyway. As you’ll find after you read more of my writing, I really like the environment; I just think it’s neat, and I feel that, for me, it’s one of the most evident places in which one can find God. Call me a treehugger, if you must, but I’m going to stick to how I feel.

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5 Responses to “Global Warming: An Economic Tale”

  1. George W. Bush Says:

    Let me start by saying your father seems like a great man, but to a more relevant point. Doesn’t this post prove the government restrictions on acts of global warming (which may not even exist) are pointless? Doesn’t this prove that the invisible hand will lead the market? Doesn’t this prove that capitalism works? Maybe the left needs to learn that money talks, and scaring everyone will not make drastic changes!

    —gWb

    ps. Why the the dinosaurs hate the Earth more than people and cause the Earth to leave the Ice Age?

  2. 06jk Says:

    Sort of. I feel that the gov should encourage conservation of energy as much as possible and promote in whatever ways they can “energy awareness”. The market isn’t really a slow moving force though, so I think that when it comes to something this important, the gov. should be able to give it a nice kick in the butt to get it mobing.

    I did not understand your p.s. haha sorry.

  3. George W. Bush Says:

    Well my ps. referred to the fact that the Earth was once in an Ice Age. We are now not in this. Therefore global warming has occurred before. I blame this on the dinosaurs with their SUVs and Oil burning. Sorry I wasn’t clearer. Rereading my statement i feel that it made no sense. Sorry.

    —gWb

  4. 06jk Says:

    Very good point, G Dubs. However, although the earth does show a trend toward increasing temperatures, this increase grew absolutely exponentially during the Industrial Revolution. The Ice Age also ended after thousands and thousands of years (if not millions, I should check my facts). Anyway, our warming is increasing over a few decades. Huge difference.

  5. Trent A. Says:

    Hey. I haven’t commented in a while. I like what you’ve posted. Finally someone on the left isn’t so radical. If we really want to stop carbon emissions, we’ve got to use the market. Conservatives often dismiss all ideas about global warming because those on the far left come up with way too extreme ideas about combating global warming.

    Don’t think that conservatives don’t like the planet. We do. Remember Republican Teddy Roosevelt who made nation parks? Remember then-governor of California Republican Ronald Reagan, who upon the occasion of the first Earth Day said that “[there is an] absolute necessity of waging all-out war against the debauching of the environment”?

    So, no, I don’t think you are a tree-hugger. A tree-hugger doesn’t want any balance between conserving and using natural resources, only leaving the environment in it’s original form. A tree-hugger is a singer who thinks that people should only use one square of toilet paper per sitting.

    But I though that I would leave this comment in agreement with helping the environment before I would try to show you “the other side” of the global warming debate. Save that for another day.

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