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In Kansas, Climate Skeptics Embrace Cleaner Energy

October 25, 2010

Yes, there is hope. This article by Leslie Kaufman that appeared in The New York Times, “In Kansas, Climate Skeptics Embrace Cleaner Energy,” is a major breakthrough. Not in the respect of changing people’s attitude toward climate change, but doing something that is pragmatic and just smart.

In a prior discussion “Forget Politics, Think Economics,” I indicated ” It’s about us, humanity and our future, that we keep our dollars in the USA by getting off petroleum and utilize clean, abundant, and domestically-produced energy sources.” I was wrong by inferring that it is only a U.S. problem both economically and environmentally. True the U.S., on a per capita basis, is the larger consumer of petroleum and needs to adjust its habits, but we are just one within the global community. It’s about all of us, North Americans, Europeans, Asians, Mid Easterners, Australians, Africans, South Americans, and so on. It’s just that American should lead and not follow, which has been the case.

Now back to the article, which stated:

Residents of this deeply conservative city do not put much stock in scientific predictions of climate change.

“Don’t mention global warming,” ……..”Saving energy, though, is another matter.”

“….. by focusing on thrift, patriotism, spiritual conviction and economic prosperity, it could rally residents of six Kansas towns to take meaningful steps to conserve energy and consider renewable fuels.

“….. last spring, energy use in the towns declined as much as 5 percent relative to other areas — a giant step in the world of energy conservation, where a program that yields a 1.5 percent decline is considered successful.”

Why did the conversation have to be about climate change?  If the goal was to persuade people to reduce their use of fossil fuels, why not identify issues that motivated them instead of getting stuck on something that did not?

“….. a three-pronged strategy. Invoking the notion of thrift”

” But they were very eager to hear about saving money, “That’s what really motivated them.”

“Whether or not the earth is getting warmer,” he said, “it feels good to be part of something that works for Kansas and for the nation.”

To read the entire article, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/barry-stevens92

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2010 5:33 AM

    This is definitely a really fantastic piece of writing, while I was reading through it I couldn’t help but agree with you. I’m going to add your blog to my set of bookmarks and i look ahead to reading your other useful posts. Continue the excellent work, this is one of the better sites on the net.

  2. Mehul Kamdar permalink
    October 28, 2010 11:42 AM

    I have long believed (and this has led to several arguments with some of my peers) that Renewable Energy’s day would come when it is accepted as a commercially viable alternative to conventional energy. Idealism can only go so far in promoting a particular product – if the vast majority of people in countries like the USA are to be convinced that Renewable Energy is a good idea, it would have to be by showing them what they have to gain from it. The situation in Kansas that you write about is a very good example of this – when peoples’ checkbooks are taxed less by using Renewable Energy as compared to conventional energy, especially at a time when the economy is doing particularly badly, it helps convince them to think about a switch. On a larger scale, the case has to be made over how much less expenditure would need to be directed, for example, in safeguarding the world’s shipping lanes in order to ship oil from countries that are not only inimical to the USA but also through routes that are littered with nuts who are out to take pot shots at anything heading to the USA. If the costs of using Renewable Energy, high as they might initially seem, were compared to the huge amounts spent on keeping ships coming to US shores safe, an even more convincing argument might be made.

    In the end, if someone is a global warming believer, this would still be the best solution that that person desires because it would mean more widespread use of Renewable Energy. If someone is a skeptic, the lower costs and savings would be enough to make a positive point. There is room for reconciliation if the numbers are worked out and a clear case is made.

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