Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Government's Contribution to Pollution by Michael Wilson

How much we humans contribute to Global Warming is a question that may never be answered to anyone’s satisfaction, but here are a few comments that may help mitigate the problem.

1. Using concrete instead of asphalt for roads and other surfaces will reflect the sun’s rays instead of absorbing them and result in a reduction of the air temperature of the surrounding area.

2.  The same applies to roofs.  White roofs reflect the sun’s rays and reduce the temperature of the surrounding area.
 "Globally, roofs account for 25% of the surface of most cities, and pavement accounts for about 35%. If all were switched to reflective material in 100 major urban areas, it would offset 44 metric gigatons of greenhouse gasses, which have been trapping heat in the atmosphere and altering the climate on a potentially dangerous scale."

We don’t want to mandate that you or anyone else paint their roof white, but we do think that since the government is building roads and putting up buildings of all kinds, then they should follow these simple suggestions.  Maybe you can help by doing this on your own.

3.  Open the transit market to competition.  Some of the most polluting vehicles are those owned by low-income people who do not have access to other transportation services because in most American cities the government has made it virtually impossible to own and operate a private transportation business.  By opening the transportation business to other types of providers, low-income people will then have access to alternatives that may reduce the number older polluting cars on the roads.  One source estimates that widespread use of jitneys for urban transit could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50%, or more but other studies are not so sure. As the market changes, we will know more.

4.  Advancements in the technology of LED, light emitting diodes, may significantly change the way we light our homes and workplaces.  Some estimate that the saving in electricity will be in the hundreds of terawatts. Regulations that slow the adoption of new technologies need to be repealed.

 "If all of the world's light bulbs were replaced with LEDs for ten years, Schubert and Kim estimate the following benefits would be realized:
  • Energy savings of 1.9 × 1020 joules
  • Electrical energy consumption would be reduced by terawatt hours
  • Financial savings of $1.83 trillion
  • Carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 10.68 gigatons
  • Crude oil consumption would be reduced by 962 million barrels
  • The number of required global power plants would be reduced by 280 "

5.  The U.S. military and its worldwide deployment to some 700, or more bases in 130 countries worldwide uses a huge amount of petroleum products that can be reduced significantly.  Thus reducing pollution and saving considerable amounts.

 “It's impossible to overstate the challenge facing Defense. It is the single-largest consumer of petroleum in the world. Oil fuels the world economy; specifically, it fuels every weapons system operated by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.” 

6.  Agricultural subsidies have shifted food production from areas near our cities to cross country sites that require long distance trucking and are subject to other numerous problems from the food-borne diseases rapid spread of agricultural pest and disease.

7. The land management policies of government agencies have created more intensive fires than what common sense would have thought possible thus adding to the pollution problems.

CO2 released by fire contribute significantly to the issue, and poorly managed forests that burn hotter contribute even more.

8. Zoning and other housing regulations have spread our cities out and require more driving which contributes to unnecessary auto emissions.  We need to repeal zoning and other related laws.

This contribution is from Michael Wilson, Activist in the Libertarian Party of Washington.