Seeing the light?

December 7, 2007

power-station.jpg    It might seem the fear of rising seas, melting glaciers and chaotic weather is the main reason to cut emissions from fossil fuels. 

    But what if you are a climate change sceptic? Does that mean polluting at will?

    No. Even if you don’t believe the world is at risk from climate change, burning fossil fuels still creates pollution and health problems. And powering global economies with oil, coal and gas is becoming more and more expensive — except if you are a big oil producer.

       An executive from Dutch electronics giant Philips said in Bali that installing more energy-efficient lighting in homes, along streets and in offices and factories could save 1.5 billion barrels of oil a year, or about the annual output of 530 medium-sized power stations.

    Yet he said research showed that 80 percent of office lighting is still based on outdated and energy-inefficient lighting systems. More efficient lighting could cut electricity bills by 50 percent or more.

     So even if you don’t believe all the science pointing to the threat from a warming planet, it makes sense for people to cut back on energy-intensive lifestyles. The only problem is, why aren’t more people doing it?







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I’ve replaced all my lights with high efficiency ones and recently purchased newer applicances. The result has been ‘some’ electricity savings. In fact I have gone as far as changing utility companies to a private one that feeds the grid with power sourced only from water hydro or wind tubines (albeit for a few cents more a Kwh but it would seem worth the price). Its less the savings and more that I felt I owed it to my child. I also telecommute when working as much as possible. Yet when I speak to many people – even those with their own children – there seems to be the needed concern yet a complete lack of willingness to act! Perhaps it is that man-made climate change is simply too much of an abstract, remote subject for most people to grasp? Or perhaps many poeple and businesses are too selfish to make even a small monetary sacrifice? I suspect it abit of both but likely more the latter… I would be willing to bet that if attitudes were compared it would be those who pay the most now for energy who are making the most changes. In other words its the bottom line again and not selflessness that really determines action. We do live in a material society and adapted our attitudes in the context of a capitalistic system after all. Hence, perhaps we had all better start feeling the financial pince for the sake of our climate and future generations. For starters a real price on pollution is badly needed. Carbon taxes and credits would effectively force people off fossil fuels faster and create funding to finance energy efficiency and even provide the incentive to keep a forest – a carbon sink – from the chopping block. But how do you sell another tax internationally let alone domestically?.. how is it enforced? Can there be a tax without caps? Again we come back to the will to act, a will to make a sacrifice and to cooperate. Time to shake off the ‘Me’ generation attitude now.

Posted by JF | Report as abusive

The article reflects a common fallacy. Long term energy savings have to compete with other investments, which may provide better returns, and with daily expenses. Investment capital is very limited. In short, people have better things to do with their money. There is no mystery here.

Posted by David Wojick | Report as abusive

This is for those normal people who GET the fact that something needs to be done about this Global Warming (or Climate Change) issue and want to know what they could do themselves without blaming anyone. They know where changes needed to be made and realize the bottom line as to were to get started… at home. What better way to motivate others as well as their family and friends to use something that will seriously reduce emissions than to make it put money directly in their pockets? Go to the Website, (means: Rescue Our Air) see how a corporate trucking company is saving 1.2 million dollars after the cost each year for this product. See how the same company won a earth day award for helping to clean their major city’s emissions. See how an Indy 500 racing family team is endorsing this product and uses it in their own personal vehicles to reduce their emissions and increase their mileage. This product’s logo is on their race car and the reason their race car is GREEN. Yes, this is a Multi-Level Marketing program or whatever words one would like to call it, but what better way to get a product out to the end user so they can make the money normally used in Corporate advertising, and executive salaries? They say, only the top people make the money in those organizations. Well, who makes the big money in any Corporation and besides, this company has only be offering this product for 18 months or so, so now you can do the math as to who IS on the TOP, You! This is not one of those companies your parents or grandparents were use to, this is a company with it’s first environmental saving product that everyone who drives needs. So when you think about the people being on top of a company, you will be in your own business and therefore will be on the TOP of your organization. This is not a get rich quick program, if you need that in your life please look elsewhere because no one needs that kind a pressure forced down their throat now days. We offer a simple solution that WORKS in reducing emissions in today’s polluted world, and are looking for people from all walks of life from students to CEOs of major companies who understands that it costs you more NOT to use it and the long-run cost if we DON’T start doing something NOW is beyond calculations. Someone might say, “I don’t drive”, “I ride my bike to everywhere”. The fact is you eat, your family eats, you send and receive your mail, people travel to you, delivery trucks brings products to your local store, grains, veggies, fruits, all are harvested by emissions producing vehicles. Maybe the person that you offer this to knows someone who can make a change in one of those chains. We keep linking these chains together, and we WILL make a difference for our children of the future.
By all means, keep your ears and eyes open for developing wide use fuel programs like E85, and Biodiesel, reuseable fuels like switchgrass, corn, and now a new hopeful is Algae, but know too that this product works in most of them and more emissions savings is always available until our combustable engine emissions are ZERO.

Posted by Thomas Paul | Report as abusive

I take it that the moderator feels that “Comments” is a suitable place for any mountebank or charlatan flogging websites selling snake-oil to the gullible? Or didn’t the moderator even read the preceeding “Comment”?

Posted by Cristi | Report as abusive

I would say that billions of dollars in advertising works to keep people in high-consumption mode, and never mind the costs to our planet. All is not dark, however.

Fortune-CNN Money recently reported on eleven new companies planning to offer highway-capable electric vehicles (EVs) in the US within a few years.

EVs can reduce US air pollution by 40%, free us from Mid-east oil and let us drive trouble-free for three cents per mile.

I find it humorous that most corporate news groups still cannot seem to pick up on EVs. Even the environmental groups’ attention seems to be diverted from EVs’ virtues by massive corporate sponsorship.

I am a member of the Florida chapter of the Electric Auto Association and mantain an informational guest blog on

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