What do you think of when I say 90 percent?
An ‘A’ in a class?
A bargain retail sale?
Perhaps a math problem?
Sadly, the 90 percent I’m referring to isn’t indicative of something positive. Quite the contrary. I’m referring to a recent study by researchers at the University of Leeds finding Americans must decrease their use of energy by 90 percent to stop climate change. Yes 90%!!
If you’re anything like me, you may be asking yourself what that means.
It means a family of four will have to live in a 640 square foot space, dwelling, house or apartment. This may be normal living conditions in New York City or Los Angeles, but most Americans enjoy larger accommodations.
Imagine what would happen if we were all forced to so dramatically alter our lifestyle. I predict a revolution would break out.
However, this is the first of many changes that would need to be made. Somehow, I can’t see the members of the Hollywood elite and the rich moguls of our society shed their mansions and private jets. Public transportation will account for most travel. Land travel will be limited to 3-10,000 miles per person annually. I’m assuming you can increase the number by traveling with the same multiple people. Air travel will be limited to a short to medium trip once every three years. No more business trips causing a slow collapse of the aviation and service industries.
Another drastic change will be a decrease in electricity usage from 80,000 kWh to 7,500 kWh per capita annually. No more Monday Night Football or computer video games. Also, energy consumption for the average person will be 18-40 gallons per year. Americans like their big vehicles, many with gas tanks ranging from 20–40-gallon gas tanks. Filling up my car once per year will be mind boggling, and I barely drive 5,000 miles per year now. Currently, I fill up my tank many times throughout the year, even with that low mileage. For example, a 30-gallon Ford Expedition will travel 420 miles in a year, approximately 14 miles per gallon depending on city versus open-road driving. The battery will die before you go to the gas pump again, creating maintenance issues. Newer vehicles have multiple batteries which require replacing if not driven often. Personally, I just experienced this to a cost of almost $800.
Clothes can be washed only 20 times per year with a clothing allowance of 9 pounds per year. Food consumption will be, on average, 2,000 calories per day instead of the current 3,000 calories per day. This will drive down medical costs as most people will have to start walking. Obesity rates could decrease.
But there is some good news, yes you can call it good news since Americans, especially young people over the age of 10, like modern technology. You may have a cell phone and each household may have one, yes only one laptop. I predict moms tell each child they have only 15 minutes during a certain time each day to use it. If you miss it, then you are out of luck. Good luck with that scenario! And don’t forget you can only use 7,500 kWh per person annually. Can you see Johnny asking Amy if he can have some of her allotment? And poor mom must keep track. I predict moms picketing on the White House lawn before it’s over. This will be the largest lobbying group to ever have graced the White House lawn.
Conclusion: Large reduction in energy is needed to limit global warming to 1.5C (34.7F). This number was established for the Paris agreement in 2015. However, there is no society on earth that meets these criteria while also providing a good quality of life. Also, a fairer income structure will have to be formed. The rich pay higher taxes and the poor folks pay lower taxes with a maximum income level established. Raise minimum wage. Hmm. This has been debated, tried and has yet to succeed as the wealthy are not quick to part with their money. It may be buried in the backyard or under the mattress, but the wealthy aren’t giving it up so easily. Abandon economic growth in affluent countries and decrease the exploration of fossil fuels. Socialism may become the new government. Wind, solar and other no carbon-energy sources would solve the carbon emissions problem without forcing humanity to alter their lifestyle’s.
Meanwhile, more humans are dying in caves in poor countries due to the burning of wood and dung. It makes more sense to help them with the essential needs that Americans take for granted such as electricity and running water. This will help them to have a longer life expectancy and eliminate pollution.
Environmentalists want to tell us what we should do; however, how many of the wealthy drive a small car but fly around in a private jet? Personally, I believe my carbon footprint is minimal. Could it be better? Yes, it could, but there is a middle ground. Am I willing to give up my lifestyle? No! Are you?
Eliminating fossil fuels is not the answer. If it were, as then we would still be running around like cave men with no shoes or clothes, suffering from poor eyesight, living in caves and hunting with primitive tools. The products that make modern conveniences all come from fossil fuels.