There are a few things that I am really worried about for the future. However, one thing scares me the most above all others: Most of our world as we know it will be irreversibly changed, very possibly within this century.

This is not a good change either; we are not making some miraculous steps forward to improve standards of living. We are not morphing to live in harmony with nature. Instead we are treating the planet like a disposable napkin we can throw away should it get ruined. Except we forget that we live on that “napkin.”

Scientists have been warning us for a long time that the stability of our climate is going absolutely to hell because of our actions. Most were ignored. But even if one chooses to dismiss such warnings, it is clear that something is wrong.

The frequency of record-breaking heat waves such as the one that hit the northwestern United States this summer, along with the resulting fires which brought smoke across the country, are not normal. In recent years, high temperatures and wildfires are not typical events in Siberia, nor are lethal snowstorms in Texas. We are seeing bizarre shifts in local climate norms across the world, just a few months ago Germany suffered catastrophic flooding, proving if anything that our infrastructure is not prepared for what is coming.

We know that this is happening, and we can see that changes in the climate are continuing to get more extreme every year, yet as a species we still have our heads in the sand.

The costs of ignoring what is going on are pretty clear. Not only is there a potential for extensive loss to human and natural life, which is already happening, but our standards of living will surely change. Sure we might be able to adapt, but the question I have to ask is: Do we want to live in a world like that?

Fear of what could happen needs to be a motivator, even if it is only for precaution.

I love the natural world, the wilderness and being able to experience it in familiar ways. The prospect of seeing it basically turned into a lifeless, toxic hellscape keeps me up at night. It’s convenient to be dismissive and revel in the fact you’ll be dead before those permanent climate change impacts take hold, but that is exactly the problem. The cause of climate change is not exclusive to the use of fossil fuels, it’s the changing of ecosystems for our own use. It’s the harvesting of animal and plant life to the point where it or the ecosystem can’t recover. Nature, ecosystems and the balance of our planet’s systems are fragile, and if people observed it for long enough they would understand that you cannot just find a quick fix and call it good enough. We played god, and we are going to suffer for it.

I see that as a species we have one very clear option. We have to make changes now so that what happens in the future is not a disaster. We need to not only drastically reverse our emissions of natural gases but place a heavy emphasis on sustainability. Resources are finite, and there is an increasingly fast-growing population on this planet.

To start with, we need to leave the ocean alone for a bit. Its ability to store carbon is probably the one thing that can even have a chance of starting to restore balance. But it needs to recover since commercial fishing has left it depleted.

Growing populations need power. It is pretty clear that burning fossil fuels like coal is not a solution, as dirty and inefficient as it is, we will also run out of it at some point. We need to find a clean, reliable long-term alternative ASAP and phase out fossil fuels.

The problem is that older generations of lawmakers act like we are not on a downward slope, and will invariably find reasons why we shouldn’t do any of this. My generation has almost no real legislative power, and despite how much noise we make, it doesn’t do a thing.

We don’t have the luxury of time to wait. Scientists warned us it had to be done now, yet countries sit on their thumbs over nonbinding climate agreements and hand the problem off to us. When it comes to actual solutions, lawmakers seem to have cold feet.

What I want to know is, do we really have a choice in the matter? Renewables may have flaws and are not as established as fossil fuels, but it is my opinion that we need to take the lesser of two evils. Try to better develop alternative forms of energy as we go along. I would much rather live next to a reactor than the alternative path which we will find ourselves on.

Locally, we have ideal conditions in New Mexico for building wind and solar infrastructure, and hopefully we can try and pioneer further development to benefit our state’s economy as well. It is the nature of politics that the industry will dig in their heels and fight to the end. But at some point we cannot depend on fossil fuels since they are jeopardizing any future we may have.

Ben Timm is a freshman at the University of Utah. Contact him at

(44) comments

Robert Fields

More reasons folks might want to start looking at alternatives - a shakedown coming this winter as gas and oil prices soar.

This is why it’s better to start sooner rather than later. You can sidestep all the fossil fuel uncertainties and price hikes if your energy source is sunlight that you collect on your own roof (which is protected by law, btw).

Barry Rabkin

Another 'clue' to the US' march away from fossil fuels: The US is NOT legally committed to the Paris Climate Accord and will not be until and unless the US Senate ratifies the Accord. Until that ratification occurs, President Biden's signature has all the legal authority of a teaspoon of spit. No company, person, town, city, State (or even the Federal Government) must comply with the Paris Climate Accord until the US Senate ratifies the Paris Climate Accord.

Robert Fields

And? Legal requirements aren’t the issue, Barry. The issue is the consequences our dependence on fossil fuels are bringing and what that means for society and individuals.

You are absolutely correct - nobody is forcing anyone to put up panels or buy EVs… yet. But as things keep getting worse with climate and weather, you might want to plan on that pressure being exerted at some point. Where we are headed is painfully clear already, but more and more voters will demand action over time and eventually that probably means mandates. And gas-powered vehicles are being phased out anyway. Your choices will eventually be limited. Ford has already revealed they are going all-electric. I believe VW has as well. That’s all some upstart companies offer. It should be a pretty easy line to draw for most. The planet is steadily warming and it’s already starting to impact our ability to feed ourselves. We’re still doing ok but how long will that last? People are waking up to the danger and starting to demand action.

The sooner people act on their own, the better. Each pound of CO2 not released to the atmosphere is that much less warming and that much more time.

But no, for now you don’t have to put up panels, windmills, or buy EVs. However, if you do, you start seeing benefits from independence from gas and oil price increases and shortages. Add batteries and you can ride through complete power outages without spoiled food, no lights, no heat, etc. And typical home solar installs pay for themselves in 10-15 years with years after that of free electricity which also means free “gas” for EVs.

So argue against doing anything all you want. As of now you needn’t lift a finger. But the sooner you actually do, the less CO2 you will contribute towards destruction of the climate and the more money you will keep in your pocket over the long term.

Barry Rabkin

And ? One 'And' is that when the POTUS is a Republican - and there will be one elected at some point in the future - the odds are that he or she will pull the US out of the Paris Climate Accord.

Gas-powered vehicles being phrased out? Yes, extremely slowly over a period of years (and not NOW). Moreover, as long as people can find some manufacturer to purchase a gas-fueled vehicle from, they will do so.

Robert Fields

Funny how you completely ignore the consequences of our continuing dependence on fossil fuels. Reading comprehension not your bag, baby?

Robert Fields

A few new studies looked at the impact alternative energy has on jobs. A summary at Huffington Post says:

“Solar produces over 2.7 times more jobs than fossil fuels, according to an analysis from two environmental think tanks and a labor union. Wind energy spurs over 2.8 times more jobs than investments in oil, gas and coal. And retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient creates demand for nearly three times as many jobs.”

“Green jobs with even lower capital costs, such as paying workers to rehabilitate wetlands or plant trees, made for an even starker comparison with expensive fossil fuel production, creating nearly four times as many jobs.”

The jobs down side is in the auto repair and service industry since EVs need much less maintenance. They still need maintenance but less frequently and it’s less involved. That’s good news for drivers, though, and right now many ICE cars can’t even get routine maintenance due to parts shortages in this pandemic.

Barry Rabkin

I’m fine with reading comprehension. I understand the consequences. But I will continue to refuse to kiss the rear ends of the new Spanish Inquisition - sorry, Climate Change ‘thou must do this’ Inquisition. More importantly, I refuse to give up my individual freedom to purchase the vehicles I want or use fossil fuels to heat my home or eat the food I want (e.g. meat from animals). …. Even knowing the consequences…

Barry Rabkin

I will not be joining you, Mr. Fields, on your march to NOW (which won’t happen for many decades). Don’t confuse availability of any technology with rapid consumer adoption of that technology, particularly EVs. Don’t believe there will be a lot of Americans willing to give up their individual freedoms to the Climate Change Inquisition.

Mike Johnson

And yes, we have more choices than wind and solar, and the EU countries are starting to understand the mistakes they have made by not including nuclear as renewable, now Finland joins France, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic is pushing for it......

Robert Fields

Nuclear as we know it now cannot be what we turn to. It’s proven unsafe. We have a number of similar design power plants just like were installed at Fukushima and two on the Missouri river nearly flooded a number of years ago. That could easily have led to two Fukushima-like disasters in the US heartland. Fukushima vented most of its fallout over the Pacific. If we lost those plants here it would have made large sections of the country uninhabitable.

One was shut down for refueling but still had a fire in the fuel rod cooling pools.

Cooper Nuclear Station came within 3 feet of being flooded. As a precaution, over 5000 short tons of sand had to be brought in to try to protect the plant.

Two close calls due to extreme weather brought about by global warming. If we are to use nuclear, it must be new designs that don’t risk hydrogen explosions and fires with massive releases of radiation. Chernobyl’s design was completely different and much more dangerous but it serves as a cautionary tale of what can happen in a major event. Fukushima was bad but could have been much worse for Japan had winds not carried the radioactive bits largely out over the Pacific.

As weather gets more extreme, nuclear plants built low near cooling water supplies are at increased risk for flooding and everything that entails. New plants must be able to take emergency shutdowns, loss of power, and extreme weather events in stride. That’s a very tall order.

Why do you always turn to the biggest business and most dangerous “solutions”, Mike?

Robert Fields

Also, Mike, nuclear power creates nuclear waste that has to be protected for centuries and longer. Nuclear power incurs a huge legacy. U-235 has a 700 million year half life. In 700 million years, half of it will still be around and dangerous. Sure you can reprocess it, but the waste is still a huge and long-lasting legacy. Calculate the cost for a single guard to watch over fuel waste for 700 million years. It’s big. Nuclear power - as we know it now - has a legacy not that unlike our fossil fuel use.

That would lead most sane people to understand that before nuclear power was to become our savior, it is incumbent on us to minimize how much of it is necessary to bridge us into a non-fossil fuel future. That means conservation and greatly increased use of alternatives — those are obscene words to you.

Robert Fields

And the last leg of the nuclear power triad is what happens to ratepayers. Nuclear plants are famous for cost overruns and needing subsidies that all land on ratepayers. In New Jersey it adds about $70 per year to ratepayers’ bills while large businesses that use lots of energy can see up to $500,000 tacked on. In Ohio, after a bribery scandal over subsidies, ratepayers got a reprieve and fees to cover subsidies were repealed but that causes other issues.

Georgia residential customers are looking at a $224 million rate increase but that’s less than $4 per month per residential customer - on top of another $157 million rate increase already in place (about $3 per month residential) - with possible others to also get tacked on due to cost overruns and delays with bringing more reactors online. So much for “too cheap to meter.”

Interesting article on what is happening to Georgia here:

One of the best ways people can sidestep the costs of a utility installing nuclear reactors is to just install solar panels. You may or may not be able to avoid some of the subsidy fees but with enough alternative energy generation it may be possible to remove the “need” for utilities to even consider nuclear power.

Barry Rabkin

Yes, I know that Americans keep their personal vehicles around 12 years. And when those 12 years are up, they will NOT replace them with EVs - possibly a few but not many of them unless: 1) the cost (layout of immediate money and payments) of EVs is less than gas-fueled vehicles, 2) the range of the EVs remains or goes beyond 300 miles on a charge, and 3) the range is NOT impacted negatively due to the heat or cold (some salesperson saying that you have to not use the A/C in the summer because that will drop the range), and 4) charging the EV takes less than 10 minutes (outside of your home where you can leverage an overnight charge or at your office where you don't have to wait to find and use a level 2 or level 3 charger). Regardless, none of that - replacing gas-fueled vehicles with EVs - is going to happen NOW!

Mike Johnson

[thumbup] And even the cheapest, lightest ones has issues.....REALITY CHECK: At a neighborhood BBQ I was talking to a neighbor, a BC Hydro Executive. I asked him how that renewable thing was doing. He laughed, then got serious "If you really intend to adopt electric vehicles, you have to face certain realities."

"For example, a home charging system for a Tesla requires 75 amp service. The average house is equipped with 100 amp service. On our small street (approximately 25 homes), the electrical infrastructure would be unable to carry more than three houses with a single Tesla each. For even half the homes to have electric vehicles, the system would be wildly over-loaded. This is the elephant in the room with electric vehicles. Our residential infrastructure cannot bear the load."

So, as our genius elected officials promote this nonsense, not only are we being urged to buy these things and replace our reliable, cheap generating systems with expensive new windmills and solar cells, but we will also have to renovate our entire delivery system! This later "investment" will not be revealed until we're so far down this deadend road that it will be presented with an 'OOPS...!' and a shrug.

Eric test drove the Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors and he writes, "For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine." Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery. So, the range including the 9-gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is approximately 270 miles.

It will take you 4.5 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours. In a typical road trip, your average speed (including charging time) would be 20 mph.

According to General Motors, the Volt battery holds 16 kwh of electricity. It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery. The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned, so I looked up what I pay for electricity.

I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $1.16 per kwh. 16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery. $18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the battery. Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine that gets only 32 mpg. $3.19 per gallon divided by 32 Mpg = $0.10 per mile.

The gasoline powered car costs about $25,000 while the Volt costs $46,000 plus. So, the Government wants us to pay twice as much for a car, that costs more than seven times as much to run and takes three times longer to drive across the country.


Robert Fields

Now Mike, you know you’re slanting things as hard as possible against alternatives. So do we. You’re kind of obvious.

Yes, electrics do have limited range and take longer to “fill up” with electricity. However, what you fail to understand is most households are multiple vehicle now. Most don’t tour the state all the time. A 300 mile range is plenty to do all sorts of local trips, drive to ABQ and back, and so on. No charging between trips even needed. New Mexico is a big state and 300 miles will cover a lot of it. That’s one-way of course, but it’s not bad. So people replace one gas car with an electric. They can still take longer trips just as they do now, but in and around locally, the trips can be all electric. The majority of driving is short local trips anyway.

About those service and grid issues, my house is 200A service but did you know something amazing? When you let an EV charge overnight, the current demand can be much lower. The cars and the chargers both can limit charging currents, too. Having a 100A service is also not an issue for most. And most don’t install level 3 chargers in their homes. Level 2 chargers are what most install and those are like running a dryer or an electric oven are are breakered the same.

Further, for those that install solar panels, during the day there doesn’t even need to be any load drawn from the grid while charging an EV. Depending on solar panel sizing, you can still be pushing power into the grid while charging an EV. And the more that install panels, one home’s excess production during the day can feed into nearby houses to charge their cars. No grid stress or load on the utility with the juice staying in the neighborhood. Solar installations now can compliment and help grid stability. Read up on IEEE 1547.

Nighttime charging doesn’t need to come rom the grid either if you install battery backup for your home, but for those charging at night, that can be (and generally is) at low charge rates. It’s better on the batteries anyway. Plus, PNM net meters and can be your piggy bank. Let your panels put power on the grid during the day and your car use what you banked at night. This grid stuff must be a total mystery to you?

You also base all your expertly-prepared numbers on buying all your electricity (Of course you would…). Install solar panels for your house and besides dropping your electricity bill to a $10 connection fee, you can charge an EV essentially for free. You somehow forgot to include how much gas-powered car drivers pay for gas. How surprising. Depending on the car, miles driven, and price of gas, it can range from $1000 to $3000 per year. Over a 12 year average life, if driving an EV and charging it using your own home solar install, that’s significant cabbage and can make EVs more than competitive with gas powered cars. Sure, they cost more up front now but prices are dropping and range is going up as batteries keep improving. Yet EVs are competitive now? Amazing!

The Volt was a plug-in hybrid. Those have varying ranges but most are pretty short. Still great for short trips but limited as electric only. There are different approaches to EVs because there are different use profiles. For many, the Volt is a great solution. Odd how you always cherry pick the worst scenarios but to anyone who understands this stuff, you’re just a fear monger pushing an agenda. The Volt was ok.

Oh yeah, there’s other benefits from electric cars. You get a federal tax credit of $7500, and New Mexico has a $1000 credit to install a home charging station by the end of the year. HOV lanes are your oyster even with just one in the car, and you don’t have to take EVs in for service near as often as gasoline vehicles. How much is an oil change in that fancy Corvette? EVs don’t need oil changes, fuel filters, timing belts, etc. How much does getting those changed cost you? How much time do gas powered cars sit in the shop?

But here’s the biggest reason to do all this stuff — we have to. The planet is steadily heating. It’s been clearly heating for the last 40 years. That rate of heating is increasing. This doesn’t take computer models to see. All you need is a thermometer or the weather person. We keep setting new heat records. The last 20 years have been the 19 hottest in recorded history. Last July was the hottest month in recorded history. Crop yields are dropping. Destruction and recovery costs from weather events keep going up.

Ask any child what happens to a pot of water that you put on the stove and light the burner. It heats up and it keeps heating until it boils. Any child who has watched mom or dad in the kitchen seems to just understand this. They don’t tell you the pot of water is about to head into an ice age, that sun spots are going to change everything, or that plants will live if you pour boiling water on them. They tell you the water is going to eventually boil.

Mike, you have already said in these pages that you don’t care what happens to others on this planet. You don’t have and don’t expect grandchildren. You just don’t care what comes for others now or especially after you’re gone. You seem to revel in setting others up for sickness, death, and disaster. In my opinion, you have removed yourself from humanity.

I say again, SFNM needs to ban you. There is no discourse with you. Just disinformation. You do and say whatever is best for you. You are just another Trump wannabe but without the money and I assume the bad orange spray tan. You contribute nothing and instead take and take without any thoughts of the consequences for others.

David Heath

Dude, who do buy your electricity from??? It's been over 20 years since I've had a electric bill but a quick internet check shows the price to be around 12 cents per kwh.

Barry Rabkin

I also realize that EV technology and increasingly more vehicles are available today. However, it will take decades and decades for consumers to purchase or lease them. We don’t live in China or Russia where citizens can be told what they can buy or not buy.

Mike Johnson

Actually, having lived in Norway, there is another way, beyond totalitarian edicts, to get people to buy EVs. In Norway, electricity is dirt cheap, with so much hydro power and so few people, it is really wasted or constrained. For instance, we had a house with not only a heated garage with under floor electric coils, but also a heated driveway all the way to the street, those were very common. And, the taxes on ICE cars with any horsepower or other options is astronomical. The Saab I bought there cost 2X what it did in America due to "luxury" taxes, which included anti-lock brakes, multiple airbags, A/C, etc. And then Norway decided to exempt all EVs from their road tolls, VAT, and luxury taxes for expensive cars. They made EVs the cheapest option. Last month, EV sales were 80% of new car sales, and there are now more EVs on the road than ICEs, and all of this in ten years. It can be done IF you have cheap electricity and a government willing to excessively subsidize EVs on every level.

Robert Fields

If Norway can do it, we can do it. There’s already a $7500 federal tax rebate on EVs here and New Mexico has a $1000 tax rebate on chargers until the end of this year.

Robert Fields

Barry, the range issues only matter if you are making a long trip. For daily trips around town, the range isn’t an issue and heaters and air conditioning reducing range isn’t a problem at all. According to AAA, drivers 16 and older average only 30 miles per day. According to the DOE, 95% of all trips are 30 miles or less. EVs are already perfectly fine for most drivers. Certainly there are exceptions. One size rarely fits all. But my hybrid Honda got on average 45 to 50 mpg yet had all the range of conventional vehicles.

Thing is, Barry, we have to start addressing global warming or else we just give up, apologize to all the kids for throwing away their futures because we are selfish and spoiled and only care about ourselves, and party down until the famines come.

Of course we will have a lot of younger folks who won’t be happy with us. It seems most people advocating not doing anything are older folks who got theirs and don’t care in the least that their actions steal the younger generations’ futures. Those younger folks will be the ones taking care of you in your old age. Have fun with the animosity attitudes like yours will create.

We are stealing their futures. Many younger people already don’t think it would be right to bring children into such a troubled world. Brookings Institution notes US birth rates have been falling for the last decade by about 20%. Others attribute the decline to various policies, disadvantages in the workplace, and falling fertility rates, but I’ve heard personally from a number of young people that they just don’t feel right bring children into this troubled world. They see what’s happening.

Do you really think we should just throw up our hands and keep right on destroying their futures while sarcastically focusing on the word “NOW”?

Just a clue, Barry - you may not like it but at some point the general population will have had enough global warming-fed weather disasters and demand change. Unless you’re dead, you are going to have changes in your energy behaviors forced on you at a time when they are being forced on everyone else. No idea what it will look like but I doubt it will be enjoyable. The smart people will start transitioning now and use each opportunity to get more efficient and less damaging to the planet. Those pushing the changes will be the young folks whose futures you don’t seem to care about. I bet they won’t care so much about yours.

Barry Rabkin

Another clue: Whatever changes are pushed will have to face US Constitutional compliance. Fortunately the US is a sovereign nation - and we're not going to cede our sovereignty to the any other nation or to the United Nations.

And actually, we don't have to change our behaviors NOW (to repeat the use of your word). Neither will the consumer adoption of EVs happen NOW - get back to me in 10 years with the % of EVs on US highways. You can let me know what % of all US homes have installed solar panels as well.

Whether younger people, middle age, or older people whatever changes you want to see happen with occur decades from NOW.

Barry Rabkin

Or perhaps you can let me know every year what the % of EVs are on US highways. That way, you can get a better feel for what is happening, or actually not happening, on that path of yours to NOW.

Barry Rabkin

300 miles could be a realistic metric for EVS if, and only if, running the vehicle's A/C in warm weather does not reduce the 300 miles metric or if running the vehicle's heater in the winter does not reduce the 300 miles metric.

The 300 miles sounds a lot like "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" crapola I expect from politicians, particularly those left-of-center. (No, I didn't vote for Trump either time.)

Mike Johnson

I think this freshman student should read the wise words and calculations of the recent Nobel Prize winner in economics. Dr. Nordhaus built a model (DICE) about the various ways of dealing with global warming, incorporating many options and doing detailed calculations of cost/benefits. You can review it here, and it shows the IPCC goal and actions (and Paris Accords goal as well) of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C is very expensive on a net basis. It has a damages and costs discounted present value of $37.03 trillion 2007 $, while doing nothing has come in at $22.59 trillion 2007 $. An optimal carbon tax is the best (lowest) cost and damage DPV.

Robert Fields

Mike, you’ve already said you don’t have grandkids to care about. Your cost/benefit calculations only matter to others like yourself who don’t care what happens to the rest of the people on this planet. We get it. You don’t want to be bothered, inconvenienced, rationed, or taxed. You got yours so to hades with everyone else? You want the status quo until you exit. After that you don’t care one whiff about what the consequences of your excesses mean for others left behind. Did I get that right, sparky?

For everyone else who plans on being here past your expiration, it matters that we try. Your kind has lied and deceived for as long as the general population has even heard about global warming. The fossil fuel industry has worked very hard to keep the money flowing knowing full well they were selling death to future generations. Rex Tillerson at Exxon had a secret email account and research group looking into the consequences and liabilities of global warming. When they gave him their answers he shut it all down.

It’s one thing to be wasteful and pollute the planet and destroy its ability to provide life when you don’t know you are doing it. When you do know your actions have that impact it becomes incumbent on you to do what you can to stop it. The fossil fuel industry was one of the first entities to see the big picture and they instead used every trick in the book to discredit climate researchers who dared try to sound the alarm. That incurs a debt. A big one.

Anyone with even limited intelligence understands that a planet that’s steadily heating will one day be too hot to support life as it is now. Presumably you too are capable of understanding that but you don’t care. The rest of humanity has a right to exist to, you know.

As the younger generations take over and as global warming weather events become even more deadly, destructive, and frequent, governments will be pressured to act on fossil fuels. These actions will get more and more restrictive as things get worse. The rest of the world is realizing actions must be taken. It’s time for us to wake up and do what we can.

It will be expensive. It may well mean reduced standards of living. But the alternative is death for a whole lot of people who will have had their whole lives in front of them. Not everyone is as old or selfish as you are.

Robert Fields

What is the cost/benefit to dying, Mike? What is your own life worth to you? Don’t you think others are entitled to their own cost/benefit decisions for their own lives?

Mike Johnson

Yes, of course every human life is priceless so therefore even 1 is too expensive to lose and thus any economic analysis where human life is not priceless, and thus swaps all other economic cost/benefit factors, is invalid. I can tell you never took a course in economics, and if you did you must have rejected all they say and use in any cost/benefit work where human lives are involved, so all these Noble Prizes for economics should be seized from these callous people. Let's just say you would have flunked all the economic and even finance courses I took at MIT, but you have a heart, so that's OK, just not relevant to economics or this issue.

Robert Fields

And by the way, Mike, do you even hear what you are telling a college freshman? That their life, and all the other young peoples’ lives just aren’t cost effective? How interesting that you advise them to read up and understand why you think their lives aren’t worth any trouble or bother on your part - especially knowing that your excesses contributed to this situation. This aspect of your post just boggles the mind. Is your fur that green and your heart that small?

You’re also wrong, by the way. If we do nothing but continue dumping fossil carbon into the atmosphere, what is the cost of eventually losing everything? I can tell you exactly - it will cost us everything. Even us.

Anything we do now buys us time later. What’s the value of that especially considering that as alternatives build out, more efficiencies and even new solutions can be built in? Time buys us the opportunity to bring more alternatives online and further reduce the use of fossil carbon. It could even see us begin to reduce carbon in the atmosphere and oceans through scrubbing. And to be effective, we can’t use fossil fuels to power those efforts.

Keep doing things your way - paying oil, gas, and coal companies to kill us - prevents the funding that can lead to better alternatives, but I think you know that.

If we never start fixing this, it won’t ever get fixed and the outcome is pretty clear. We have to do this. Who knows? We may even succeed. Wouldn’t that be sad for you?

Mike Johnson

You obviously did not read Dr. Nordhaus' work did you? He, and I, are not saying do nothing, that is just the base case used to compare all other options of doing something, since many are the wrong things (like Algore's) and cost much more than they provide in benefits. Dr. Nordhaus, and myself, believe an optimal carbon tax would provide great benefits, as it would incentivize companies and people to make better economic choices, and provide funds to mitigate and adapt people to climate changes. You really missed the entire point, but then again I think maybe this kind of material is way beyond your pay grade.

Robert Fields

Nope. I didn’t. And I came on a bit harsh for what you wrote. But I believe anyone who reads your posts here and knows your posting history probably has a good idea where you were going with noting how doing nothing is cheaper. But I didn’t read the paper and maybe you are advocating for taxing fossil fuels. I’m all for that though we need to not unfairly burden and instead help those who are less able to afford alternative energy. The overarching goal must be to rapidly ramp down our use of fossil fuels by whatever methods we can.

But seriously, your posting history would suggest this was only a light hand push to your usual stances on this stuff. You have pushed doing nothing, that anything we do is a waste of time, etc. But maybe you are coming around and that would be good for everyone. I need to see real advocacy for moving away from fossil fuels before I believe it, though.

Robert Fields


Barry Rabkin

Choice? Only a long-term choice. The hundreds of millions of vehicles on US highways and roads need a constant supply of fuel to continue to operate. The hundreds of millions of homes, businesses, and hospitals all need a constant supply of fuel to continue to operate. None of these fuel-required entities are going to stop requiring a constant supply of fuel: we are not going to stop driving our vehicles and neither are we going to become cold in our homes and businesses in the winter nor sweat in our homes and businesses in the summer.

Most importantly, we are not going to stop climate change and neither are we going to mitigate climate change.

As humans we need to do what humans have done throughout the hundreds of thousands of years our species has been on Earth: we must adapt. And yes, that means some cities - both in the US and in other countries - will be flooded out of existence.

That's reality.

Robert Fields

Barry, the only way to adapt to a planet too hot to grow food is to die. That is absolutely our future if we don’t do anything as you advocate. You think we should just ride this in to the inevitable crash?

The planet is steadily warming. It will eventually be too hot for most plants, animals, and humans. You don’t seem to care about the lives of the people inheriting this planet from us. Instead, you sit back in some comfy chair and proclaim there’s nothing we can do. I’m going to guess you think you will die before the worst comes. If so, that’s about as cowardly and selfish as it gets.

We do have a lot of gas and diesel powered vehicles on the roads but that’s changing. If you know which vehicles are all-electric, you can already spot quite a few on the roads here. What you claim is impossible is already happening.

This isn’t an overnight thing but it has to start happening now. People have to realize and understand this is for all the marbles. You might as well prepare because as more get on board and governments start limiting fossil fuel use, it’s just not going to be available, rationed, or will be taxed until it’s wildly expensive. This will happen. It’s just a matter of when.

Our long term choices have been severely limited by decades of inaction. We’ve already locked in extreme weather and probably lots of crop failures in the coming decades. These frequent and extreme weather events are new and in our faces evidence we are harming the climate. Governments will be forced to act as populations reject your old ways. You might want to start looking at how to get on board.

Barry Rabkin

The only thing I plan to get on board about is continuing to celebrate the individual-centric freedoms that are the foundation of our country. I plan to continue to purchase the vehicles I want and to continue to eat meat from animals. I also plan to continue to believe that climate change can not be stopped or slowed by human actions.

No person is going to leave their personal vehicles at home and stop driving. People are not going to stop heating their homes in the winter. People are not going to stop cooling their homes in the summer. Fossil fuels will be used for the next five or more decades.

Barry Rabkin

I didn’t say moving from gas-fueled vehicles to EVs was impossible. I am well aware it is happening. I will state that the movement to EVs will take decades and if every vehicle on US highways and roads were EVs it would make zero difference to climate change.

Robert Fields

And you would be absolutely wrong. Transportation accounts for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions in this country according to the EPA. If the US could cut out almost a third of its emissions, we would be far ahead in fighting this.

Mike Johnson

Well said Mr. Rabkin. New, innovative technology and adaptation of same is the key. And any actions taken by government should be to encourage and promote these things, not mandate, force, and keep the free markets from working.

Robert Fields

We have technology now -NOW- that can greatly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Every pound of CO2 we keep out of the atmosphere is less heating, more time, and less to remove later. There are multiple benefits to reducing the amount of CO2 we are dumping into the atmosphere. Big benefits.

You keep trying to convince people to wait and keep using fossil fuels. Just keep kicking that can down the road.

We’re out of road. It’s time to start working to fix this mess.

Barry Rabkin

Then if we have the technologies NOW all you need to do is convince consumers to adopt those technologies NOW. That won’t happen NOW or any time in the next five plus decades in any significant numbers.

Barry Rabkin

And consumers will have to be convinced they can afford those technologies NOW.

Mike Johnson

Absolutely true Mr. Rabkin, every day consumers vote with their dollars, and do you see EVs, solar panels, and windmills flying out of the sellers and being used rapidly???? Of course not, and until better, cheaper, more reliable, and more practical technology emerges, that will continue to be the case, just niche trinkets for the rich and stupid to impress their friends with at the socialist/environmental gatherings and parties.

Barry Rabkin

There are 276 million vehicles registered in the US. And it will be many, many decades before 1/3 of them are replaced with EVs. That is one among several initiatives that are NOT going to happen NOW.

Robert Fields

And it could also be that many aren’t aware they have some real options now. There’s big state and federal tax rebates that take a big chunk out the price for those that buy their systems. There’s zero down financing. You can even allow your roof to be a home for other company’s panels and you just pay them a reduced rate for your electricity. People have a number of ways to put panels up now. Of course the financing and other peoples’ panels options don’t get the homeowner quite as much benefit as buying the system, but it doesn’t need to be expensive. And there is the bigger benefit of taking your home’s electrical use off the balance sheet of carbon production.

Cars are a different story and are expensive. That is something still to work out to get the widest adoption but having a vehicle you can fill up for free using sunlight is a pretty appealing proposition. Time has a calculator to see what the yearly gasoline cost is to drive various vehicles at different gas prices which are now much higher than they show by default for 2018.

At today’s prices and 13,500 miles driven per year the cost just for gas is between around $1000 to $2600 per year. That cost can go away if you have solar panels supplying the charging current for an electric. That covers a lot of the added cost when you buy an electric vehicle.

People just need to know there actually are options. Because there are. And we really need to do this. And we must do this.

Robert Fields

Actually, Barry, the average life of a car just rose to 12.1 years thanks to the pandemic. So in just over a single decade half of all cars could be replaced with electrics. Not decades and decades. Car and Driver quotes IHS numbers that say every year, 5-6% of vehicles get replaced with new cars.

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