People who really are worried about AGW [anthropogenic global warming] should go beyond indulgences (sorry, offsets) – that is – they should buy offsets, but also make some real sacrifices – painful ones, like cut down their air-traveling, cut down their electricity consumption, and their consumerism, in general.
Dr. Romm – would you care to tell us what you’ve been doing along these lines ? Would you like to mention the “sincere attempts to reduce your carbon footprint” that you have made, and their results ? Would you care to publish your carbon footprint, and the multidecadal trend in it (up or down) ?
I tend to think the question is largely irrelevant. I worry about AGW a great deal, but I don’t advocate individual sacrifice, since it won’t solve the problem — nor is it necessary. For instance, you don’t need to cut down on your electricity consumption if you purchase renewable power (although efficiency will be good for your pocketbook).
We need collective action at a national level and then at a global level. That is the focus of this blog. I don’t preach sacrifice so I don’t practice it. That’s one reason I’m not as big an advocate of offsets as some.
Still, Problogger says you should tell readers about where you are coming from. So — without implying others need to do the same — here is a list of the things I have done to lower my carbon footprint:
- a 1.2 kW solar photovoltaic system
- a solar hot water system
- a hot water recovery system
- compact fluorescent bulbs for virtually all lighting
- an array of Energy Star appliances, including a horizontal-axis washer
- flat panel computer screens and TVs
- a two-zone central air system with high efficiency AC units
- three ceiling fans
- four skylights
- a retractable awning [my personal favorite]
- Energy Star white paint for the sunroom
- extensive attic insulation
- all windows Energy Star (double-glazed argon-filled)
- one car, a 2004 Prius
- I telecommute.
- I don’t fly much.
I confess I have cut down on flying mainly because it has become so unpleasant that I realized blogging is a much better use of my time than speaking to small groups in distant places. The house is a rehab, which limits some of what I can do, but then again, it avoided the energy in a new construction
It is very safe to say that the footprint trend is quite down, almost certainly by more than 50%, since in the 1990s I commuted to an office (DOE) in a Saturn — and my job required a fair amount of flying. The biggest thing I haven’t got around to doing yet is to purchase 100% renewable power for the electricity my PV system doesn’t provide. It’s on the top of the to-do list, followed closely by radiator covers!
Again, in the grand scheme of things, my actions don’t matter, but not a single one of them required sacrifice, and other than telecommuting (and perhaps the PV system), they are all things the vast majority of people could easily do.
Jacob, thanks for asking!