The Durban climate change meetings are over. The results are in. They are: not much has been resolved. The 2012 expiration date of the Kyoto protocols is unchanged. No new protocol was adopted. Still, there is movement toward a global agreement on climate change sometime around 2020 or so. This agreement would/might include China, India, and other large carbon–emitting nations. But 2020 may be way too late to have the world avoid serious temperature change.
The general impression that this meeting leaves is that, if you feel that action is required now to reduce further global warming, you had better not depend on any government (except maybe the state of California) to make it happen. As I stated in my previous blog on this topic, Mother Nature is indifferent to the actions of mankind. The laws of physics remain in effect regardless of who believes himself in charge. This year, 2011, was again one of the warmest on record with a number of serious weather events. The non-climate disaster in Japan simply added to the toll of misery inflicted on humanity. So, what to do?
Here’s a list of rescue resolutions you might want to make for the coming year:
- Begin—or increase—telecommuting. Every automobile mile not traveled reduces the rate of carbon dioxide additions to the atmosphere (even if the automobile is a hybrid or all-electric).
- Plan the automobile trips you do take more carefully. Merge several shopping, doctor visit, work, or social visit trips into as few as possible.
- Check out the insulation of your home. Plug the cracks. Reduce the drafts. Cut down on your heating bills and your carbon dioxide production.
- Install solar cell arrays on your roof. Make sure that they are connected to the grid and that they can be disconnected from the grid in case the grid fails. That latter part might mean an additional expense but, as the Japanese in Fukushima* discovered, it may be well worth it in case of a natural or other form of disaster.
- Keep after your political representatives to act now to encourage energy conservation and development of new energy technologies. Let the market work where it is effective but override the market where it is too conservative (or greedy).
- Increase the pressure on those major polluters of the atmosphere, such as power companies using coal fired generators, to convert to more sustainable forms of energy production—or at least install much more efficient carbon dioxide scrubbers.
- Pester your friends and neighbors to adopt these and similar resolutions. Don’t forget that we are all in this together.
If you don’t adopt these resolutions don’t say you weren’t warned.
Happy New Year!
*Many homes had solar arrays on their roofs but they were connected to the grid and were unable to operate when the grid went down (no disconnects and/or battery storage)—as it did after the tsunami.