Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Portland's Image Infatuation

Bless their little hearts: Portland, Oregon wants to hire a consultant to answer questions like these:
  • If the city of Portland repaves a street, does it change the amount of carbon that makes its way into the atmosphere?
  • If the city uses a different type of truck or material in its road work, does that affect global climate change?
  • Does a change to traffic patterns on major streets alter the amount of air pollution in the city?
What can you say? This is the work of people who only want to be seen as being environmentally conscious, without actually having to make any real changes.

Sure, you might repave streets with material B instead of material A and let cars run a touch smoother, getting maybe 0.1 mpg more. I suppose it's possible.

Meanwhile, they are saving pounds of CO2 while ignoring all the tons of CO2 already being produced. They are focusing on the tiny small picture while ignoring the large picture.

It's like trying to lose weight by insisting on low-fat pepperoni on your pizzas. But you're still eating pizzas, you idiot. If you really want to lose weight, switch to salads.

A lot of this is going on in Portland. And, sadly, in the US now, too, with the Waxman-Merkley climate bill. They plan to cut back a little here and a little there, all the while ignoring that we'll still be putting massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere at a time when we need to essentially stop putting GHGs there -- and, in fact, begin to take some out. They think we will cut back our GHG emissions by 80% by 2050 just becasue they say so, when it's utterly, completely, totally impossible unless we have completely new energy sources and we completely reconfigure the entire energy sector of our civilization.

People just have no idea yet how serious this problem is or how utterly drastic the solution needs to be. And quickly.

In fact, it's probably already too late. And there is zero chance we will, or can, rebuild our civilization in time to avoid serious climate change, > 2°C.

And even now we can't get our house in order. Humans are...just stupid animals.

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