On Being An 800 lb Gorilla

An 800 lb gorilla. That is what our own Al Gore called the U.S. while at the UN Climate Change meeting. Now, I know Al Gore is not a big hero with everyone who reads this website, but I respect his honesty. All the Chevy Volts and Opel Flexstreams, Segways and Vectrix vehicles won't look so good in the driveway IF the driveway is under water, in a fire-ravaged region of the country, or if the owner of said driveway is unemployed. The simple truth is we can't wait until 200 million hybrids/EVs/fuel cell vehicles appear to start reducing our carbon footprint. That will take about 20 years! We have to start NOW, right here in 2007. Or, at the latest, in 2008.

I am half transportation enthusiast and half energy/environment enthusiast. I enjoy driving when I do drive, but I do so as as little as possible. The U.S. uses 21 million barrels of oil a day - more than any other nation by far - and we are hoping the rest of the world will cut back on their global warming production rate so we can keep driving like there is an infinite oil supply! That is what our policy has been - protecting our old industry economy while other nations aggressively embrace new technologies. Maybe that is why the Japanese make the best hybrids, the Danes make the best windmills, and I don't know who makes the best photovoltaics. Is it the U.S.? Hope so. Others are taking the lead in new energy technologies while we resist change as the Congress did by not adopting a Renewable Fuel Standard in the new energy law.

Remember that pollution is a local problem but global warming and peak oil are global problems. Al Gore sees this but most of us don't want to admit it. Of course Al and the IPCC could be wrong - scientists have been wrong before. Even if they are, is it so bad to cut back a few hundred gallons of oil this year? Or to buy a car that only weighs 1.5 tons instead of 2 or 3 tons?

So, if you get up in the morning and the face staring back has a few more simian traits than it had previously, check the vehicle on the driveway. Is it parked or moored?

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