Posted by: energyblogwalter | January 30, 2006

price misses the point on greenhouse gases

You’re paying 4 cents per kilowatt hour and you’re never going to go solar/wind because the price point is never going to match what you’re paying now, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This is true. Go flip the channel and eat that cheeseburger. CSI is probably on.

Not awake 24 hours a day 7 days a week? Good, we’re still human then. We have the ability (the requirement) to sleep every so often, no matter how we deny it. It turns out therefore we don’t really need energy all the time, 24/7. Whoops. This is not a personal need at all, but only one based on industry.

Not eating a cheeseburger? But isn’t that cheaper than making a nice stew or cutting up some oh-my-god vegetables? Are you on medication due to obesity or to prevent heart-attacks? This would probably mean that you’re not eating that cheeseburger, cheap though it is. Probably you have decided to consider your health over price.

Here we are, somehow able to recognize our own responsibilities to our personal selves without government involvement, political action, demonstrations (other than the New Year’s Resolution kind), or even our Mom’s suggestion. Yet when it comes to our effect on this earth we cannot connect the world events to our own actions.

I’d like to propose that we lack the global vision to recognize our demands on the earth. We see it for ourselves, but beyond that we don’t connect our involvement.

If you can concede that global warming is wreacking havoc around the world and then add the price of just insurance claims to your kilowatt hour, then you’d probably be scrambling to use the cheap solar and wind energy available all around you. You might even go to bed at night and wake up during the day, who knows.

A profound cultural shift will be required in order to change our ideas on the world. Some kind of Energy Health Food. Society has not designed itself with itself in mind, only industry. We’ve heard the call of the cheeseburger and not questioned the results, because we don’t think we feel it yet. But we’re sitting down. We’re only now seeing the effects on other regions of the earth body. How long before the effects cut even deeper? Before it reaches us?

If we pretend to add the destructive costs to our energy consumption every time we turn the light on, we would make these issues personal and not faceless. We would own the problem directly and every time we turn the light on would be an opportunity to save some money, and all the other costs down the long long line of where all this energy comes from.

We must see the global risk and feel it too. The only manner is price. This need not be painful, but could be really profitable. If we’re in charge of our own power needs, and can meet or exceed those needs, we can sell the excess back to the grid. If we made the power, we could be directly responsible to the CO2 reduction committment of the Kyoto Protocol and not industry. Industry would have to work to our schedule not theirs. And maybe the earth can start to heal again.

Ok. Not so practical yet. I work nights, go back to sleep in my sunless room, I eat when I can, and we’re all about to lose it. But I ask that you not lose that personal connection. Without it, we can’t even begin.


  1. Some emmissions calculators. Again, adding the point that it’s not the price of the power, it’s the cost. 😉 You can reduce your yearly CO2 emmissions and do your part.




    Other Calculators by country:

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