Guest Editorial: What Does Being Bold on Climate Look Like Locally?


Love this!
Um, not a thing?

Yes, you can do a lot.

1. Buy bulk LEDs for your house and if you rent, share with people in your building- cheaper to buy 6 bulb packs

2. Replace old fridge stove washer dryer dishwasher with modern efficient ones: I cut my electric bill in half doing that and reduced water & gas useage dramatically

3. Walk bike transit where you can. If u fly take light rail to airport and fly on turboprop or 787

4. Eat better. Instead of beef every day eat local fish or chicken. 1/10th to 1/20th emissions right there
What does bold action on climate look like? Advocating for nuclear power. Build a couple power plants, and take offline fossil fuel based ones. Even with the disaster on Fukushima, nuclear power is the safest in terms of lives per watt hour, and it can provide consistent high output, unlike solar and wind. In ten or twenty years, we can replace the nuclear power plants with other sources, but we have serious need for a lot of energy as soon as possible, and nuclear should be our short term answer.
How do you write an entire piece about climate change without talking about low zoning codes and their effects on sprawl?
Our previous "bold" climate plan, hawked by the City, excluded counting carbon impacts from all sources (for example it only looked at traffic in the city's boundaries - the hundreds of thousands of auto commuters coming for work here don't count - and therefore "let's grow even more jobs here" and add even more car commuters in the region because we're on our way to zero carbon!).

To get to zero we had to buy offsets -- in 2050. Hardly carbon neutral.

We need a societal shift. Building more jets, getting everyone a new iPhone each year, buying lots of product from Amazon - no matter how much local fish we eat - is going to address the scale of our problem.
"Replace old fridge stove washer dryer dishwasher with modern efficient ones: I cut my electric bill in half doing that and reduced water & gas usage dramatically"

Will dear, unless you are replacing an old gas range that has a standing pilot with a gas range with electronic ignition (or better yet, replacing a gas stove with electric) you are gaining nothing in energy savings or environmental benefit. And if you have an electric stove, the only way to improve is to buy one of those amazing new ones that have an induction cooktop and convection oven - and those cost approximately one million dollars. The best way to save energy in cooking is to use a slow cooker or microwave.

Refrigerators are also tricky: Maison Vel-DuRay has a 1955 General Electric wall mounted refrigerator that sips electricity. That is because it has no frost-free setting - I have to periodically defrost it - and because it is small. By comparison, the mammoth 2012 Energy Star French Door fridge we have in the basement (to make up for the small GE fridge) is a power hog, made more so by the fact that it seldom has anything in it.

Dryers are like stoves: Unless you are buying a fancy new heat pump dryer, they're basically the same dryer your mother had (sans the fabulous color and lighted backsplash). It's much smarter to invest in a new washer, which are really amazing pieces of machinery that leave clothes dry enough to minimize time in the dryer.

Modern dishwashers are lovely, but the trick is to run them when they are full (using the rinse setting all other times). Contrary to folksy wisdom and hippy tales, a dishwasher is much more efficient than hand washing. AND DON'T PRE-RINSE!!!!!

If you want to do your part, have good windows and insulation, exchange baseboard heaters for ductless heat pumps, and have a well insulated water heater (or heat pump water heater - which are also nifty!). And remember - gas, electricity and water are all commodities where you can choose how much you use. Conservation is your utility friend.

If we want to do something truly important locally, have PSE divest themselves, and stop buying energy from, Colstrip. Replace Centralia (and all the other gas peakers that they and Avista have) with renewables. But understand that it will mean higher rates.

Lastly, start getting serious about electric cars.

Bold action: don't have kids. If you must, have one. Any more and you're fooling yourself with your efficient appliances and less meat eating.