Few reasonable people doubt that global warming is occurring. It is highly likely that this is at least partly anthropogenic. But even if it is not reducing our usage of fossil fuels is sagacious. Fossil fuels will at least then last longer. Moreover, fossil fuels are certainly pollutants.
Here are some propositions as to how we cane reduce our use of hydrocarbons. These come in no particular sequence.
Enact a law forbidding companies and families from keeping the lights on in buildings which are not in use. At night I often pass shops and offices with lights on. This is burning energy uselessly. Companies do it to advertise their wares. If they did not do so they would put themselves at a disadvantage viz-a-vis their competitors therefore the practise must be prohibited. If people leave their lights on when they are out they should be fined. One lightbulb can be overlooked but a whole house of lights switched on cannot. Not just lights but electricity generally. The refrigerator cannot be exempted for a reason to blatant to require elucidation.
We need to move to trains more than planes. With magnetic levitation this is viable. Mag Lev trains can go something like 400 miles per hour. Planes often go about 500 mph. Trains are in some ways a better option speed wise since boarding and disembarking is much quicker. There is no lengthy taxi to a runway. Planes take ages to land and landing spots are tight. Trains have no difficulty getting their slot at the station. Trains can slow down to stop in a mile or so – mag levs will take longer. Trains go from city centre to city centre. Airports tend to be miles out of town. If anything goes wrong on a plane it is at 30 000 feet usually. If an aeroplane crashes this usually kills the passengers. Trains are not at altitude. If a train comes of the rails it usually does not kill many passengers.
We need to tax cars more especially the bigger ones. I know that heavier cars are taxed more due to fuel consumption but this is still not enough.
Some people are moronic enough to show off by having needlessly large vehicles. This damages the planet. We need to change the attitude that having a bulky car is admirable,.
We ought to promote the notion that using public transport is commendable. The Duchess of Westminster said that any man over 30 on a bus is a failure. This is certainly not so. There is nothing contemptible about using public transport. It is commendable. It shows care for the planet. Many people use buses for other reasons but this could be one reason for taking a bus.
We need to use more renewables. We can run buses on used cooking oil.
We should have driverless buses, trains and cars. People sometimes go too fast because they wish to attract attention, they are reckless, they are in a hurry or they are too emotional. This causes crashes. It also uses too much fuel. People have to break too hard and that causes traffic jams and tailbacks. Robots will not do this. Computer driven vehicles will be more fuel efficient.
We need to use solar power more. A law should mandate solar panels on all buildings within a certain time frame – maybe 20 years. Governments could fund it. There could be gradually increasing taxes on all buildings without such panels. Taxes could be reduced on buildings with such solar panels. The same applies to wind turbines
We need to shift the tax burden from clean energy to dirty energy. The polluter must pay. Make clean energy tax free if possible.
We need far more wind farms and ”ducks” to use wave energy. Research into such energy should be funded. There are hydrogen powered cars and water powered cars.
Solar powered vehicles and ships are possible. A solar powered plane has already circumnavigated the globe. It was slow but a new vehicle always is.
We need more cycle lanes, rentable bikes and places to lock them up. This is also good for health. It reduces noise pollution.
We need more points to charge electric cars. They tend to be smaller and take up less space.\
We should challenge the chauvinistic attitude that a prius is effeminate. It can be feminine or masculine it does not matter. This car is socially responsible. Poisoning the planet is not manly. It is worthy of scorn.
We need thermal insulation of buildings in cold climates.
In hot countries architecture should enable natural cooling. People should also be allowed to dress for the climate even in offices so too much AC is not used.
Smaller houses also help – less space to cool or heat
Working from home reduces transport usage. Business trips and meetings can be reduced.
Taxing flights more will help. The revenue can be used to subsidise railways.
Excellent public transport obviates the need for cars to a large extent. Singapore makes owning a car very pricey and it provides superlatively good public transport instead.
I am a hypocrite and fly a lot. What would make me change my ways? Making it painfully expensive would lead me to reduce my flying drastically. That is the only way to do it. It has got to hurt financially. Appealing to goodwill and public spirit is insufficient to drive change.
People should have fewer children. No one should have more than one child. This will radically cut pressure on the Earth’s finite resources.