I have never purposefully littered. I pick up trash frequently along sidewalks, roads and trails. We’ve switched out all light bulbs at homes for LEDs, conserve water and energy whenever practically possible, and generally try to live a life of reducing, reusing and recycling.
I believe that the global climate is changing, but I am not convinced that is solely or completely driven by humanity. The dinosaurs and early Cro-Magnon man co-existed during an Ice Age that covered virtually all of what we now know as North America with practical glaciers. Our early ancestors of some 70,000 years ago somehow got by with crude tools and plants that could only exist for very brief windows of time during the year. Fire and the wheel would come along much later. And though I’m sure those dinosaurs, now forming petrochemicals and the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, did not freeze their world by using plastic straws and grocery bags. Their planet warmed and then cooled as part of what appears to be long and shifting cycles of life and climate on this planet.
During Charles Dickens’ London, every home burned lumps of coal in their fireplace or stove for in-home heat, cooking and warming bathwater. The soot was so thick you could see the air in the London of those days. America was a much dirtier country with roadways and waterways much more visibly polluted prior to the passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts during the 1970s. Much of what we now know as federal laws protecting our environment went on the books during the Nixon White House years.
I applaud then-Governor Jimmy Carter’s protection of Georgia’s inter-coastal waterways and marshlands, also during the 1970s, which are part of what has buffered much of Georgia’s coastline from the horrific flooding of hurricanes. But again, though some significant development limitations and protections were put in place at those times, most did not mandate instantaneous shifts nor target specific industries or pick winners and losers.
The Biden Administration would end production of all gas and diesel vehicles by 2050, only one generation from now. There are currently roughly 350 million Americans, and almost 500 million licensed and tagged cars, trucks and motor vehicles that run on some type of petrochemical. Other than California, electric vehicle market penetration is roughly 4% across the nation. But for modest and lower-income households, even with the tax credits, electric vehicle purchases remain out of reach. Our U.S. Postal Service alone has an aging fleet of millions of gas-powered vehicles.
Visit any office tower or retail mall or plaza and you might see five to 20 spaces devoted to electric vehicle charging stations, in parking lots with an average of several hundred parking spaces. Our direct current (DC) electric infrastructure that powers our homes, IS not designed to carry a load of hundreds of electric vehicles simultaneously charging in a neighborhood or subdivision. Who will pay to upgrade that distribution network and rewire millions of our homes?
During the 1970s, scientists in the U.S. and Soviet Union warned of a global “cooling” crisis, and some even forecast another Ice Age. But science has also helped us learn that the planets and even the moon have orbits that are more elliptical than circular. Our moon’s orbit daily impacts the tides on this planet. Solar flares impact solar winds, our upper atmosphere, and the geomagnetic fields of the earth. Our poles, North and South, have migrated over the life of this planet, as the size and shape of our continents have also shifted…all pre-dating the advent and genesis of our species.
I am not suggesting that we slam on the brakes or do nothing, but a quick read of the current “Build Back Better” Human Infrastructure Bill passed by the U.S. House last week budgets $300 billion on a concept called the Civilian Climate Corps and moves towards making a wide array of existing U.S. industries all but illegal by fiat, rather than market forces. The first automobiles came onto the scene in the early 1900s, and yet we were still sending men onto the battlefields of war on horseback as late as World War I. Market and global demands can and should drive change, not mandates and forecasts of what might be, simply because that may also align with massive expansions of a wide array of social spending programs and expanded government control.
And for $2 trillion, I want a hoverboard.