20. Obama’s Speech on Fighting Global Warming: “Too Little, Too Late”?

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The president’s speech was great in tone and in the way he showed we need immediate action to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and deal with other countries of the world in the collective reduction in worldwide emissions of greenhouse gases. But the plan lacked detail, especially in how we should all be CONSERVING more energy that is generated by fuel burning in everything we do, especially driving less, flying less (or not at all), and using less energy in our homes and in the places where we visit.

The U. S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that U.S. gasoline and diesel fuel consumption for transportation in 2012 resulted in the emission of about 1,089 million metric tons from gasoline and 422 million metric tons of CO2 from diesal fuel burning to the atmosphere, respectively, for a total of 1,511 million metric tons of atmospheric CO2 in 2012. This total was equivalent to 83% of total CO2 emissions by the U.S. transportation sector and 29% of total U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions.

Regarding air travel, it is often said that transportation by plane usually results in by far the largest quantities of greenhouse gases (GHG’s) emitted by a person in a year. GHG’s emitted (CO2 and nitrous oxide). This is due to the tremendous quantities of fossil fuels burned in takeoff, climbing and cruising at high elevation in a heavy jet airliner.

In 2011, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 11,280 kWh. Louisiana had the highest annual consumption at 16,176 kWh and Maine the lowest at 6,252 kWh.

To meaningfully reduce our emissions from transportation and household/business use our Congressional representatives and senators needs to ENACT MAJOR PROGRAMS THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION. The U. S. Congress should enact programs that offer voluntarily “positive financial incentives” ($) to Americans who limit their carbon dioxide emissions to minimal levels, as measured by their annual mileage driven in automobiles (all registered vehicles they own) over a year’s time. It is not enough to rely on vehicle energy efficiency improvements to reduce CO2 emissions by transportation since studies have shown than most people who buy more fuel efficient cars eventually drive even more miles per year than they did before, not less, which therefore negates the fuel efficiency caused greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions.

These programs should be funded by taking away the many tax exemptions now given to fossil fuel development corporation, reductions in funding the military industrial complex, and by eliminating major expansions to highways and airports and by avoiding the construction of new power sources due to increased conservation of energy in homes and increased energy supplies from wind and solar sources. The money should then be directed into funding for offering positive financial incentives for people to drive less (miles) (or not drive at all); to avoid flying; and to use less fossil fuel derived energy in their homes or businesses. People who already chose to walk, ride buses, and not fly airplanes would benefit financially by this program, as would individuals, families and business who use less fossil fuel derived energy in heating and electrifying their homes and businesses.

More details on the financial incentives plan are contained in: “Positive Financial Incentives: An Environmentally Just Approach for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions”, published earlier on this blog site on May 9, 2013.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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