Thursday, September 21, 2006

Further thought...

After a day of thinking further about California suing the automobile industry I still don't have any conclusions. Wishful thoughts are probably more like it. This is going to sound as if I am having second thoughts....and I am. California's lawsuit is seen by many as a nuisance suit. It probably won't get anything accomplished except for filling the pockets of the lawyers...or so says a close friend. The fact that lots of other things in the world put out CO2 is true and that was also pointed out. I went and looked up the levels and what I found seems to say that Americans do put out more CO2 than other nations. Here is the article I found on the subject of Global Warming. What I don't know, and I doubt that anyone else does either, is if car emissions are a large enough part of the cause of global warming to be seriously considered as being "at fault". There are lots of contributing factors. Environmental Science is, I think, still a relatively new science and we are still learning how things work.

So! Can anything good come out of California's lawsuit? I don't know. Since I admit to being a bit of an optimist and a rather hopeful (naive) one at times, if anything good could come from it I would like to think it would. What I would like to see happen is for all of the US to stop using fossil fuels and find a renewable source of energy to run our cars, boats, lawnmowers, and all the rest on. But...being a responsible and caring person I worry about wishing that on us because if that happened what would all the people who work in the oil industry do for jobs? Still, it would be nice if we didn't need oil from other countries. From there this goes into Science Fiction land, which is more my friend Susan's bailiwick than mine. I wonder how a story like that would read...(g).


Susan Palwick said...

I know there's been a lot of SF about alternate energy sources, although I can't offhand think of any right now (I'm braindead after a day of teaching!).

The fact is, we DO have alternate energy sources: solar power, wind and water power, hydrogen-cell technology. I'm not an expert on any of this, but I've read enough to know that if we wanted to convert to those other forms of energy, we could. A few years ago, I had a student whose father will take individual households off the power grid: set you up with solar power and other things, I'm not sure what all, so you're completely independent of your local utility company.

He charges a lot to do this -- I don't remember the figure, but tens of thousands of dollars. He promises that you'll earn it back in fuel savings over X amount of time, but the initial investment is hefty enough to place it out of the reach of most people.

But the point is, it's completely possible, even now.

We don't want to do this. It would be difficult and take time and cost a lot. Mainly, though, the auto and oil industries don't want us to because it would be too hard on them. Just think of how much oil we'd save if every city put in a good public-transit system -- even an oil-powered one -- with incentives to get people to use it! But of course the car companies won't get behind that.

The California suit may be a nuisance suit, but it's better than nothing. It's a start.

And we've switched energy sources before. Remember when people used to use lamps with whale oil in them? ;-)

Lee said...

Thank you, Susan. I'm sorry that I've taken so long to respond to your thoughtful comment.

I hadn't heard that we could get totally off the power grid for housing. My dad used to read up on solar powered living because he wanted to build such a house, although he never did that.

I'm with you on the idea that despite it's nuisance factor the CA lawsuit is better than nothing. At least it brings the issue to media attention. While no one reads those huge environmental reports much most of us listen to the media in some form.