Indelible moments and sensations dot our lives like mental sequins. And if you look up to the sky, the carbon atoms used in those moments are still there, each one knocking around with two oxygen buddies, trapping just a little bit of solar heat, forever unavailable in the fossil fuel form that society craves and loathes.
It is not an exaggeration to say that almost all our memories took carbon to make. Whoever invented the famous tag line for cotton growers just had the wrong raw material. Carbon: the fabric of our lives…
“We could be using half the energy that we’re using,” says political scientist and energy policy expert Mark Bernstein, managing director of the new USC Energy Institute. Launched earlier this year, the think tank aims to build a community of energy and environmental researchers, expand research and education programs, engage outside companies and agencies, and – perhaps most important – help form good policy.
Such policy will have to fit through a shrinking window. Society had more options in the early 1970s, when the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was only around 320 parts per million – somewhat higher than the pre-industrial concentration of roughly 280 ppm. Today, with CO2 levels nearing 390 ppm and growing faster than ever, time is a luxury. Predictions of looming “peak oil” – the point at which global oil production starts to decline – add to the urgency.
This is a bumper-size article. Filled with as many sound ideas as words.
Take the time for a read. Comment if you care to. More important, reflect upon what you may learn here and turn your energies to labor in the vineyards of politics.
Most of those who oppose action for – or even consideration of – sensible energy policy haven’t the studying gene. They rely on the usual foolish prejudice of a nation unaccustomed to self-judgement, self-reliance or responsibility for their policies. At the least, this article provides an outline for study and action.