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What's the Catch?

What's the Catch?

2010.01.18 (last update)

What's the Catch?

This began as my New Year's resolution for 2010, out of my frustration with the lack of progress at COP15 in Copenhagen.

I don't want to sell you anything.
I don't want you to donate money (this is on my dime).
I don't want you to join an organization.
I don't want you to write to politicians.
I don't want you to carry signs in protest marches.
I don't want you to think the issue is too big for you to solve alone, or that you are helpless. You are not alone in this, and I will provide resources to help you with this initiative.

I do want you to think and act to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, so I can leave a habitable planet for my children, my grandchildren, and those that follow. I hope you do, too. If you do, I want to help you with that endeavour. If you really get it, I would also like you to mention this to your family and friends, and see if they want to act as well.

I have been pleased to see the response to my idea so far. I hope something significant comes from it.

That's the deal. Where it goes from here is up to you!

What if I'm wrong? (suppose Climate Change is actually a Hoax)

It could be that the overwhelming majority of the world's climate scientists are wrong. That seems highly unlikely, and there seems to be more evidence almost daily to prove them right. But where's the down side for this campaign? Suppose I, and many, many others manage to reduce our fossil fuel consumption by 10% in 2010, and the whole climate change thing actually is some kind of colossal hoax. What would be the result?

  • Our air will be cleaner.
  • Our water will be cleaner.
  • Our soils will be less polluted.
  • We will have imported less coal and oil, strengthening our economy.
  • I will have saved some money on my energy expenses.
  • I will have met some new and interesting people, and probably picked up or enhanced some skills, and have learned a few things along the way.

    However, what if the majority of climate scientists are right, and you do nothing? How will you explain your inaction to your children and grandchildren?

    This won't solve the problem of climate change.

    I know. I'm just one person, and not one in a position of power. However, I can take responsibility for my contribution to the problem of climate change. I can make some changes that will reduce my greenhouse gas emissions, with little or no financial cost. I don't have the entire solution, and certainly won't within 2010. However, I can be part of the solution. Solving the problem starts with changing direction from the wrong path (continually increasing emissions) to the right path (reducing emissions). I don't propose to give up my gains in 2010 once we reach 2011, but rather to continue to benefit from them into the future, and likely continue to look for further gains. If other people do the same, then with time, that will help to solve the problem.

    Still, if you have a better idea on how to fix this, please let me know.

    Why focus on fossil fuels?

    In terms of the increase in the greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere, the one that is changing the fastest and creating the biggest negative impact is carbon dioxide. The major source of carbon dioxide production on the planet today is our burning of non-renewable carbon-based fuels, notably coal, oil and natural gas. As consumers in the industrial world, it is our driving, flying, heating and cooling of our homes, and our high-consumption lifestyle on the global scale that causes most of this. While factories in Asia are increasing their emissions, the fact is they are producing goods primarily for our consumption. If we reduce that consumption, we will also reduce their emissions. I don't want to reduce my quality of life, but I do want to reduce the impact of it so I can continue to enjoy it, and so my children and grandchildren can, too.

    Why not let the government fix global warming?

    Because they have had about 20 years to do something, and have not. Based on their performance at COP15 in Copenhagen in December 2009, they have no desire or intention of doing so.

    Wouldn't a little global warming be welcome?

    Global Warming is actually a bit of a misnomer for what we can expect from continuing down the path of increasing our greenhouse gas emissions. "Global Climate Destabilizaton with Coastal Flooding" is possibly a better terminology, but it doesn't flow off the newsreader's tongue quite as smoothly as the shorter, and somehow more comforting, "Global Warming". In fact, the models forecast the temperatures will become more volatile, and storm systems will become more frequent, more powerful, and do more damage. That could mean periods of freezing weather in areas that currently don't see them, bringing things like freezing temperatures and snow to places like the U.S. citrus belt or southern England and Europe in the winter, and increasingly hot, dry weather to regions in the summer. I know, it seems so unlikely given the stable climate in which our current human civilizations have evolved and adapted. However, this is exactly what has happened in the past few months and years. Assuming that survival of our species is a desirable thing, then climate stability is something we want to retain, and increasing our greenhouse gas emissions is the wrong why to go about it.

    What will 10n10 do for you?

    The primary focus of 10n10.ca is to provide you with information you can use to help reduce your fossil fuel consumption, hopefully by 10% or more in a single year (2010). The objective is to make this as easy as possible for you, and to do it without spending much money (perhaps none). I expect you will save some money (reduced energy expenses) as a result. Over the course of the year, I will also try to provide you with some motivation, some inspiration and help in some other ways I have not yet worked out in detail.

    At some point, we will implement some form of greenhouse gas emissions tax ('carbon tax'), or possibly even some form of direct rationing. That would not be necessary if we all agreed to play nicely, but historically that is not the case when it comes to shared resources. (Search for 'tragedy of the commons' to learn more about that.) This initiative is about playing nicely (which can work to our benefit according to games theory, if we're smart enough to figure it out). However, it if doesn't work out, starting down this road now will allow you to be better positioned when the taxes or rationing or both are implemented. The less dependent you are on fossil fuels, directly and indirectly, at that point, the better off you will be personally. If you invest for your future, or buy insurance, this sort of precautionary, but painless, approach should make sense to you.

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