My motivation is to help mitigate human-caused climate change.
Our primary sources of energy are renewables, nuclear fuels and fossil fuels. Fossil fuels – coal, oil, natural gas, propane, etc. – release climate-changing gases. Energy “sources” from not using energy include energy efficiency and not using energy at all.
In a global economy, all people will use all energy. If Americans don’t, others will. If Americans reduce their use of energy, the overall energy costs will decrease, increasing consumption. Long-range solutions have to involve international agreements.
In the meantime, of all the choices to lower energy use, energy efficiency is the most popular. National and international policies are based in energy efficiency because:
- There is no challenge to our lifestyles or standards of living.
- Greater energy efficiency is politically correct and highly fundable, even with stalled national leadership.
- Energy efficiency promotes economic growth.
Our use of energy, however, has not decreased. Btus per American have remained about flat, except lower during the Great Depression, the Carter Administration, and the current Great Recession.
If we believe that lowering gross energy use worldwide is necessary to address climate change, energy efficiency must be upstaged by some other, more effective, international approach. Alternatives to energy efficiency include:
- National laws are inadequate in a global economy. Only international agreements among energy-intensive economies can reduce energy use.
- Cap and trade; carbon taxes, anti-extraction laws
Until these actions are feasible, what can we do?
- Broad-based, widespread opposition to climate denial media and propaganda
- Studying and applying methods from low energy societies
- Use measurably less electricity and fuel
- Prepare our families and communities for a harsh future
- Vote climate-denying leaders out of office – take control.