Attacking the Global Warming and Climate Change Problem

Some studies show the average carbon emissions per person in the USA is about 20 metric tons per year. The world-wide per-capita average is about 4 metric tons. It is obvious from these figures who has caused most of the global warming/climate change problem, and who has the capacity to most easily fix it. We need to get our carbon emissions way down to an environmentally sustainable level, at least an 80% reduction. It is doable.

On a small scale, a few pioneers have been able to make that reduction in their own households. In my case it was an interesting do-it-yourself project. I installed some solar thermal panels for hot water, enough to get hot water completely free 10 months of the year. I installed some solar PV panels to charge a small battery bank for supplemental and backup power. I run my TV, computer, refrigerator, and other small items off-grid with it. I arranged to buy my electrical power from wind farms at no significant increase in price. And I also use that wind generated electricity to run a heat pump to help heat my house, which I supplement with a wood pellet heater.

I got a lot more efficient with the energy I do use, with energy efficient appliances and lighting, and I keep the use of them to a minimum. I experimented with converting my hybrid car, that routinely gets better than 50 mpg, to a plug-in hybrid and was getting 80 mpg on short trips. And I charged it mostly from solar panels. I’m watching developments by the automobile companies and plan to buy a factory-built version.

Other things helped: I tightened up my small house, added more insulation, and installed a white metal roof on it. I eat mostly simple foods, and not much meat (helps keep my weight way down too). I minimize purchasing frivolous stuff, get a lot of “bang for the buck” from what I do buy, and recycle what I can when I’m done with it. I retired from full time work, so no regular commutes, and now work mostly from home. I do a lot of bike riding for fun and health reasons, even built an electric bike that goes 25 miles on a charge.

There was no loss of any quality of life from what I did, in fact it got better in many ways. I can’t say if I’m saving any money or not, but that wasn’t the point. There are other ways to measure the value of something other than just monetarily.

Nearly anybody can do some of what I did, which would help get us started down the right path. Simply changing routines to be more efficient would be helpful. Solar panels for hot water are no big deal to install in many situations by hanging a few of them on a sunny wall, and they have a short pay-back period. Grid-tied PV solar panels are being set up on home roof-tops, car ports, and back-yards everywhere, as well as on commercial, educational, and institutional buildings. In some states, just a few clicks on a web site can convert you over to wind generated electricity. Household size battery packs are now available to help provide grid stability. Another way to fill the gap from clouds or a lull in winds is to use “demand response,” which involves utilities paying commercial, industrial, and even residential customers to reduce electricity demand during those hours.

For transportation, much more efficient personal vehicles are readily available. Going from a 20 mpg SUV or pickup truck to a 50 mpg hybrid car makes a big difference in CO2 emissions, electric powered cars for local trips even more. Bio-fuels made with clean processes are becoming available for freight and agriculture uses, and the costs are reasonable compared to fossil fuels when external costs are factored in.

We need to get on with fixing the global warming/climate change problem, time is getting short. Read more at https://agw-cc.com/

09/22/16

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