Friday, August 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

What if climate change doesn\’t happen?

By
November 4, 2010 |

Enterprise columnist

\n

The last column posed the question, “What if we woke up tomorrow and everything the scientists predict is going to happen due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had come to pass overnight?”

\n

What would we need to do to survive that new world of hotter temperatures and heat waves where the sea has risen a dozen feet or more? There would be no more time to adapt, to plan and to mitigate; we would be in an emergency and the response by governments at all levels would affect everyone.

\n

The contrary scenario is posed by the question, “What if we do listen to the warnings, take global warming seriously, set greenhouse gas reduction targets, and construct and implement plans to minimize the predicted effects of global warming; but then nothing happens?”

\n

We arrive at the year 2100 and the polar bears are surviving and thriving, the oceans have not risen, and global temperatures are about the same as today? The scientists were wrong and we didn\’t really need to make all those plans and take all those actions to reduce CO2 emissions. Climate change really was an error, a myth or a hoax.

\n

Aside from all the finger-pointing (Congress would be holding hearings to figure out whom to blame), what would the world look like?

\n

First and foremost, the world would have made a transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to one where energy is derived from renewable and sustainable sources such as solar, wind and biofuels. Sometimes lost in the discussion about climate change is the reality that the world has only so much oil and gas. We have arrived, or soon will, at what experts refer to as “peak oil” — the point where the amount of oil that we can extract from the planet has reached its peak and will begin to decline.

\n

When this restriction on supply is coupled to increased demand — both from population growth and also from economic growth, particularly in lesser developed countries such as China and India — there is upward pressure on the price we pay to fill our gas tanks. More than that, oil is a feedstock or energy source for almost everything we manufacture, transport and consume.

\n

Implementing climate action plans that encourage renewable energy sources reduces the inevitable negative economic effects of peak oil — independent of the issue of global warming.

\n

Implementation of climate action plans today will reduce U.S. dependence on foreign sources of oil, a goal everyone seems to share but which some who “don\’t believe” in climate change seem to overlook as a benefit. Climate action plans will make the world a safer place.

\n

Climate action plans emphasize efficiency and, again independent of the issue of climate change, greater efficiency in energy use not only resonates with the values of thriftiness and being smart about how we use resources, it also puts money in consumers\’ pockets. Filling a 10-gallon tank in a car that gets 40 miles to the gallon will, over time, cost the owner half of what it will take to fill the tank of a 20 mpg car.

\n

Same thing for utility bills: A house or business that is built or retrofitted to be properly insulated, has Energy Star appliances and a few photovoltaic panels on the roof is going to cost the occupant much less to operate than one that is not so constructed or retrofitted. In simple terms, it is absurd to “waste” anything, especially if it costs money and/or its use has a negative consequence on the environment. The emphasis on efficiency in climate action plans will put more money in everyone\’s pockets.

\n

Those rooftop solar panels, in conjunction with “solar farms” that provide electricity to communities, also will charge electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles that further reduce or eliminate reliance on fossil fuels.

\n

Even though population increases, and California is more crowded, congestion will be reduced by local transit and by high-speed rail that will take us, for example, from Davis to Los Angeles, where a Zipcar will be waiting to complete the trip to Aunt Esther\’s house for Thanksgiving.

\n

Implementing climate action plans will jump-start a green economy and create good jobs so that our children and future generations won\’t be reading “made in China” or “made in Germany” on the solar panels on our rooftops or the wind farms and other energy-generating systems yet to be invented. Moving away from coal also will reduce the incidence of air pollution and we won\’t see those pictures of people in Beijing wearing gas masks as a routine part of life.

\n

Mixed use and smart development will make our communities more livable, our neighborhoods more walkable, with daily needs such as schools and groceries safely and conveniently accessible.

\n

Implementing climate action plans, even if the scientists are wrong about the predicted negative effects of climate change, will result in a world in 2100 that is safer. Nationally, we will be more secure, more efficient and less wasteful, with a stronger economy, leadership in green jobs, a healthier environment and more money in people\’s pockets.

\n

— John Mott-Smith is a resident of Davis. This column appears the first and third Thursday of each month. Send comments to johnmottsmith@comcast.net

\n

Comments

comments

John Mott-Smith

.

News

City to overhaul its sprinkler heads, other water-wasters

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
No easy task: History buffs still trying to save building

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Davis indecent-exposure suspect pleads no contest

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Not-guilty plea entered in Woodland homicide case

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Putah Creek Council appoints new executive director

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A3

Communitywide ice bucket challenge on Sunday

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

 
Parents’ Night Out features Vacation Bible School

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Afternoon tours of city wetlands resume Sept. 6

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Yolo County golf tournament enters fourth year

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Can you give them a home?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Saylor will meet constituents at Peet’s

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Event will unveil mural celebrating food justice

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Prunes take center stage at last agri-tour of the summer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

In need of food? Apply for CalFresh

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Wolk bill would require reporting of water system leaks

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Writing couple stops at Davis bookstore

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Explorit: Final Blast show returns for second year

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A5

Record drought saps California honey production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
World travelers

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Seniors set to stroll through Arboretum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

Weightlifters causing a racket

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Wage plan has a big flaw

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Bridging the digital divide with computational thinking

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
No support for militarization

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

A better use for this vehicle

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Police are our friends, right?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

.

Sports

Watts likes what he’s seen in keen Aggie DB competition

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Watney and McIlroy struggle at start of The Barclays

By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B1

 
Light-hitting Cats fall

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Giants win nightcap in Chicago

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Big West soccer coaches have high hopes for UCD men

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

‘If I Stay’: Existential angst

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

 
Davis Chinese Film Festival to kick off with 1994 favorite

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Rock Band campers perform at E Street Plaza

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Natsoulas to host mural conference

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

 
Yolo Mambo to play free show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

.

Business

Car Care: Teenagers not driving safe cars, study shows

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Car Care: Feeling the summer heat? Your car battery is too

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Three-wheeled Elio gets closer to going on sale

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, August 22, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6