Peter Montague and Steve Horn write: Most Americans are now convinced that climate change is real because dramatic evidence keep piling up – searing heat waves, multiyear droughts, record-setting wildfires, unprecedented tornadoes and Biblical floods.
Furthermore, there’s now widespread agreement among scientists that humans are causing these problems by burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas), thus emitting carbon dioxide (CO2) gas, which acts like a blanket, warming the planet.
One obvious solution: use fossil fuels far more efficiently (doing the same work with less energy), thus drastically reducing CO2 emissions. Wherever we use lights, heat or motors, we could greatly enhance efficiency.
Furthermore, efficiency could improve quickly – the National Academy of Sciences said recently we could cut the nation’s energy use 20 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030 using technologies that are available and affordable today. David Goldstein has shown how we could cut national energy use more than 80 percent in ten to 20 years, creating many thousands of good jobs while saving trillions of dollars in reduced fuel costs – enough to fund a modern, renewable energy system.
One crucial caveat: the people who would benefit least from efficiency are the purveyors of fossil fuels – they’d sell less product, reducing their profits. For them, efficiency is a threat, not an opportunity.
In response, fossil fuel corporations have devised their own plan to mitigate global warming while burning more and more coal, oil and natural gas. Their plan is called “carbon capture and sequestration,” or CCS, for short.
In a nutshell, the plan would capture CO2 as a gas, pressurize it into a liquid, pipe it to a suitable location and then pump it a mile below ground, hoping it will stay there forever. You may not have heard of it, but the CCS plan is chugging along worldwide. [Continue reading…]