Biden’s climate change spending is endangered despite demands to do something now. Threatened not only by political infighting but also because green technology is proving elusive. SLATE reported America’s 2020 solar output at 2.3%, a mere 2.2% increase since 1990 despite a thousand-fold increase in panels.
Much touted open-air capture is also disappointing. Massive fans suck air through CO2 trapping filters, mix with water, then super-heat and pump the solution into ground cooling/storage. “If it works, in one year it will capture three seconds worth of CO2,” laments Climatologist Peter Kalmus over Iceland’s Orca plant—the largest in the world. A miniscule “one 10-millionth of humanity's current emissions.”
Regarding recapture THE VERGE reported, “Microsoft can purchase its 2020 eleven metric tons of [CO2] for $600 [per] equaling a $6.7 billion bill for one year’s pollution.” Note: Microsoft doesn’t eliminate emissions. They simply pay for recapture involving technology counterproductive to environmental salvation. Massive electric fans, super heating, underground pipelines, and storage facilities. What’s the carbon footprint on that?
Carbon offset problems have prompted Greenpeace’s Jennifer Morgan to call for their elimination labeling them “Greenwash.” In September CNBC reported, “no standard guidelines for achieving net zero emissions,” adding “less than 5% of carbon offsets remove [CO2] from the atmosphere.” Budgets notwithstanding “companies who pledge carbon [neutrality] aren’t promising to remove CO2 emissions. They offset their emissions [through] renewable energy, planting, protecting trees,” or other clean atmosphere efforts. Problem? Limited space to plant trees for one. Oxfam calculated the total land required for carbon removal as five times India’s landmass, the equivalent of all “the planet’s farmland.”
Can we counter these pessimistic figures? Yes. Reduce consumption. Let Cities Go Dim. Say what? Not so outlandish when considered and clearly within reach. Let’s start with sports. Dallas’ AT&T Stadium peak consumption is 750 megawatts, enough electricity to power twelve million homes. (Can wind and solar generate that in a day?) Recently I drove past a university at 7 a.m. Every athletic field was fully illuminated including the football stadium. Why? America has 27,000 high schools alone, most with Friday night football. Why not move Friday and Saturday night college football to Saturday afternoon? It might reduce school budgets and light pollution to boot.
Drive through any metropolis at night. Highway billboards are fully lit at 2 a.m. How many of the lit office buildings need to be? How many are owned by corporations touting green energy? Yes, LED technology is providing energy efficient bulbs. But 10,000 times more bulbs are being used in our expanding civilization negating that benefit.
How many of the politicians/celebrities shouting do something now would consider downsizing their significant electrical usage? Has California’s Governor’s mansion ever suffered a brown-out? Unlikely. Advancements may come. Until they do, instead of endless debates about climate spending why not opt for something both sensible and attainable. Let The Cities Go Dim.