ideas for coping with the climate crisis

Although the climate crisis is bigger than we are, we are a big enough part of the problem that if we instead become part of the solution, it will make a significant difference.

Although government does not now want to be funding large new projects, the government surely has the responsibility to maintain an overview of the relationship of the country to the world, and keep the citizens advised of what is happening and provide suggestions for what individuals and corporate businesses can do to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.

As you know, energy, and civilization's waste products toxic to nature, are major worldwide problems now. Industrial civilization depends on abundant cheap energy, and that has been coming primarily from fossil fuels. This has become increasingly damaging to the world environment such as by the hazards of drilling offshore and in wilderness preserve areas; and by the carbon dioxide, CO2, that is the major waste product from the combustion of petrochemical fuels with the oxygen in our air, and causing a climate crisis.

Investing in building the infrastructure for utilizing the energy derived from the Sun's radiant energy upon the Earth is an important way to lift the burden off the use of fossil fuel resources and the CO2 byproduct that is warming the planet too much. These include modalities now being used, such as hydroelectric powerplants, wind farms, photovoltaic cells, and solar ovens for cooking food.

However, there are ways to greatly reduce the wastage in use of fossil fuels, that can make a significant difference and pay for itself, but takes some very different ways of looking at things. Transportation is one area that looks quite promising for this approach. If we can look at a 10 year time frame for payback plus profit, some possibilities come to mind.

For example, let us imagine that "we" buy the design rights for the 1990 Honda Civic Hatchback from Honda, along with any tooling and assembly data they have remaining on that now obsolete vehicle, 16 years into history. So it ought to be a cheap design purchase; obtaining working ones around the country ought to still be possible for examples. I owned one of them and it got 42 mpg on the freeway commute in the Los Angeles area, and handled great on the road, had a/c cruise control and plenty of room inside; and engine still did not use oil up at 160,000 miles when it was squished in a multi-car wreck from which I walked away. It did have some design flaws in the positioning of the alternator and electrical relays too near the driver, which ought to take less than half a million dollars to modify. In this scenario the government (state or national) would provide loans and enough guidance for the project to re-create this proven vehicle in the context of the need. If they are produceable in multi-million quantities here in the US, cost probably would be maybe $10,000 each or significantly less, a lot less if all vehicles were identical except for paint color. These new vehicles would be offered in direct exchange for any vehicle which gets less than 18 mpg, regardless of age or condition of the gas hog. Thereafter, for each of these new vehicle's 10,000 miles of commute, at say average of 36 mpg, it has saved the consumption of 555 gallons of refined gasoline; at a cost of $2.50 per gallon, that is $1,380 per 10,000 miles driven. If the average vehicle is driven 100,000 miles, that is a savings of $13,800, so the vehicle has long since paid for its cost to the nation, and produced a substantial profit of over 30%. Each individual who did the vehicle exchange has a new vehicle free (or remaining payments to yet make on the former old gas hog vehicle) and is saving $2.50 in gas for every 18 miles driven. But more importantly to the world ecosystem's climate, it has saved the use of 5,500 gallons of fuel per vehicle. For each 1,000,000 vehicles thus replaced and utilized, this is a savings of 5,500,000,000 gallons of refined petrochemical fuel to remain in the world's reserves becoming more precious with time for non-fuel uses; along with preventing its enormous amount of CO2 from being dumped into the atmosphere to add to global weather disruption and resultant sea level rise.

Surely this is a lot wiser than drilling offshore for more of the petrochemical reserve's early extraction and use and CO2 production. Can such a concept be integrated into a free enterprise system? Since it is overall a profit-making activity, that seems reasonable. All it takes is the government's overseeing that the overall purpose is being fulfilled and to provide the financial buffering for the long term 10 year investment in the world's ecosystem future upon which life depends.

James E. D. Cline


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