Paris Is Just the Beginning

I’m excited about the Paris Climate Agreement, and think it’s a great start. But that’s just it–a start. In itself, the agreement won’t solve the problem.

My personal focus on carbon reduction is car-related, so I’ve been thinking more about what we can do now to make an impact.

You can buy an electric car, if you want to. There are lots of choices, and lease rates are cheap. Unless you opt for the super-luxury-priced Tesla, though, you’ll be out of luck if you want to drive your e-car everywhere you take your current gas model. Range is less than 100 miles, except for the 2016 Leaf, which is claiming 107. Still, the point is made.

But I was wondering. What if we got, say, even half of the driving population to switch to electric? We still need to create the electricity. Where we get it would make a big difference. If it’s from a coal-powered plant, we’re still pushing out CO2.

And what happens to all of those old gas cars? Someone else would buy them and drive them. That just transfers the problem to a new owner.

Not too long ago, the Federal Government instituted a “Cash for Clunkers” program to buy up old superpolluters for more than they were worth and give the seller a few bucks to go buy a newer, cleaner car. What if there was a program for folks to turn in their old car and buy an electric (or hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, when available)? Then, the old car gets crushed and all the materials in it are recycled. That might help a little. The cars that don’t get crushed will have to be retired, too, as soon as possible.

It’s hard to see ahead 35 years to 2050, when we will need to have succeeded in our Paris commitments to limiting the temperature increase since pre-industrial times to 2 degrees Celsius (3.7 Fahrenheit). 1.5 degrees would be even better, scientists say, but it’s a really tough goal, according to what I read.

We need to start now, and not wait around. But I’m just like everyone else. I like my lifestyle and I don’t want to be limited or have to make changes. But, if I don’t, how can I expect anyone else to?  And if WE don’t, the temperature will just keep on rising.