Our problems are man made--therefore, they can be solved by man
President John F Kennedy
As previously stated, The Washington Metro area and the Middle Atlantic Region of the United States are among the most affluent in the world, with a high percentage of highly educated, informed and environment conscious citizenry. This is also a trend setting region because it is:
- the seat of government where the rules and regulations are crafted, and
- a highly diverse community with people from all over the world that live, work, study and visit here; hence the perfect conduit to transfer ideas and more to other communities.
Ethical not Technical As the documentary Surviving Progress points out, solutions to climate change and mankind’s condition on planet earth can be found less in technological advancement and more in ethical and political considerations; people tend to do and want what others do and want.
There are of course technical and practical considerations but they can only be effective if:
1. preceded by an educational effort to inform the public on the benefit of a specific course of action, as well as the consequences of inaction, which forces
2. political office holders to make decisions, provide leadership, and
3. direct rule making bodies to establish new and appropriate regulations and sanctions
The Solution lies in consuming less without impacting quality and standard of life. This is achieved by first tackling ethical and political considerations, including but are not limited to:
§ recalculating government and family budgets; economics is not a science, therefore it is not subject to unchanging facts of life like the laws of gravity
§ budgets must take into account what we take from nature through, for example,
§ revenue neutral carbon tax that with consumption levies and income tax rebates
At this point, technological as well as politically and economically feasible solutions can be adopted.
If your community is dependent on service industries, such as tourism, it can adapt a series of measures that address water resources and quality as well as energy savings. Management innovations such Energy Services Performance Contracts – ESPCs - and Technical solutions, such as Combined Heat and Power – CHP – are proven, state of the art systems that
o reduce greenhouse emissions by 40 percent
o consume essentially zero water resources in generating electricity
o are a low-cost approach to adding new electricity generation capacity
o reduce the risk of electric grid disruptions, and
o increase predictability with electricity prices
Most of all, going back to the politics of the climate change issue, they utilize:
1. fossil and/or renewable energy, lessening the stalemate between these two options
2. highly-skilled local labor and technology, hence creating new wealth in a community
3. are adaptable and scalable to local conditions, and
4. meets the stated goal of consuming less without impacting quality and standard of life.
ESPCs and CHP are utilized in a variety of applications:
§ industrial providing electricity and steam to energy-intensive industries such as chemicals, paper, refining, food processing, and metals manufacturing
§ commercial and institutional providing electricity, steam, and hot water to hospitals, schools, university campuses, farms, hotels, nursing homes, office buildings apartment complexes and other residential housing.
In both developed and developing communities there is a disconnect on most issues between the elites – the wealthy, opinion and decision makers - and the rest, especially regarding economic development, trade and the environment.
The connection between haves and have nots will occur when wealth creation, employment and entrepreneurship are linked to the climate change issue; till then, climate related issues will remain an issue of interest to a very select minority of earth’s population.
The connection is more likely to occur when technologically, economically and politically evolved regions like the Middle Atlantic States set the example and show the way to combat climate change; other communities will then follow in their footsteps to the benefit of all.