Friday, July 25, 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

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Tech Trekkers boldly go into STEM fields

    By Amy Jiang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Decoding breast milk secrets reveals clues to lasting health

    By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    California climate change policies to hit our pocketbooks

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    Davis braces for six days of scorching heat

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Appeals court upholds high-speed rail route

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

     
    Carwash raises funds for funeral expenses

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Unitarians will host summer camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Artists, photographers invited to support Yolo Basin Foundation

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

     
    Sudwerk’s sales grow, floating on a sea of dry hop lager

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Wetlands visitors will see migrating shorebirds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    ‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Explorit: Wonderful wetlands right at home

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Recycle old paint cans for free

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Where your gas money goes

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    STEAC needs donations of personal care items

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Forum

    Trio disagrees on best option

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Support these local restaurants

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Let’s get the bench repaired

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Predicting climate changes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

     
    Clinton’s book is worth a read

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

    Thanks for emergency help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Commenting system to change

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10, 32 Comments

     
    .

    Sports

    Hudson solid, Hamels better in Giants’ loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Petrovic, Putnam share Canadian Open lead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Moss powers A’s past Astros

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Enriquez brilliant, but Post 77 season ends with Area 1 loss

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    The un-Armstrong? Tour ‘boss’ Nibali wins Stage 18

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘A Most Wanted Man’: Superb espionage drama

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Clyde Elmore: Art in the Wild

    By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Musicians perform at Sunday service

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A17 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Accord’s latest model is most fuel efficient

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
     
    .

    Obituaries

    Mary Lita Bowen

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    James Thomas Feather

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Richard ‘Dick’ Robenalt

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, July 25, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Sherman Home

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Vaughan Brookshaw

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Ciana Wallace

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Jo Vallejo

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Carol Coder

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Diane Lardelli

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Jason Sull

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Leslie Blevins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    David Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Open House Map

    By jboydston | From Page: RER19

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Open House Map

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER23

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24