Re: Educating the public
- On a side note: Pickups and SUV's do have an Corporate Average Fuel
Efficiency (CAFE) Standards; they, however, are classified as work
trucks which means that they have a muck lower overall average as a
class. This dates from a time when these types of vehicles were
primarily used on farms and ranches and fields where their four-wheel
drives and large engines were put to their proper use, a situation
that is obviously no longer the case. It is interesting to note that
Chrysler tried to have its PT Cruiser (which gets relatively good
mileage) classified as a truck to maintain its CAFÉ in the wake of
releasing some super low gas mileage vehicles.
I have been following the back and forth on what should actually be
done to deal with the huge issues that face a community interested in
changing the way that the people generate, access, and use energy.
Some of the issues that I see:
One there is the problem of engaging and motivating the average
energy consumer. These people may have a nagging sense somewhere in
the back of their mind that our current energy situation is headed
for disaster but they are not about to do anything major in their
lives to do anything about it. They have don't have the time, the
inclination, or the money to effect any sort of serious changes.
There are ways to engage this class of energy consumer. Given easy
access to recycling, a large majority of people will make the effort;
people will do little things. One way to introduce people to PV is
through Solar Powered Radios and Battery Chargers these are not
expensive or labor intensive but they work well and illustrate the
principle. Along with the new Sub-CFL's, I see these types of things
as way into the consciousness of the world at large. They are easy
to explain and have an obvious, immediate usefulness that dire
predictions and overall policy issues to not. The challenge is
getting the word out. We must intrude upon the general public
Two however, there are big policy issues that need to me addressed
by the percentage of people that are not average energy consumers.
There are issues of developing more cost efficient renewable energy,
and effecting change in the way that energy is generated and used.
In these arenas, not only must proponents get the word out, but they
must change habits and basic beliefs and values, which respectively
is hard, harder, and hardest. Somehow, people must caused not to
burn so much energy, and at the same time remove a concept which has
become a central tenant of life in the Western World: that people are
entitled to unlimited and cheap energy. (California illustrates the
difficulties inherent in such a change. The state is suffering
rolling blackouts and facing the possibility of even longer power
outages, yet neither the idea of serious energy conservation nor
serious price increases have seemed to make inroads as plausible
solutions. Though is looks as if the price increase will have to
happen.) It is a change that will require a cohesive vision and
Three the government, that powerful force for the status quo, can
develop into a force for change, albeit slowly, and without
threatening major energy concerns in the short terms. Developing
regulations for the construction of new homes and the remodeling of
old ones involving insulating regulations, some architectural
requirements, power efficiency requirements, can dramatically
decrease energy consumption over the long term without threatening
any major industry and, in fact, assisting others. All of this
accomplished with government subsidized capital so beneficially
employed to create the current city infrastructure.
Four we must continue to support and develop new technologies until
they become viable. Eventually, one will break through and be
environmentally and economically viable and reliable. Viva la
Given my four observations:
It would be advisable to develop two brochure-esque documents. One
would be for the average energy consumer outlining the basics of RE
and conservation, and some easy/inexpensive ways to get involved. The
second would outline a more broad political and ideological vision
with a plan for affection overall change.
Being involved in desktop layout and graphic design I would be glad
to help develop any HREG material.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, ChasMauch@a... wrote:
> I agree that we need to educate the public about a lot of things,
> which seem unrelated, but I don't think we can talk about renewable
> without considering the overall energy picture, such things as:
> 1. Our tax system needs to be revised so that rather than
> fuels we give people incentives to insulate their houses and office
> buildings, drive more fuel efficient cars, use mass transit, etc.
We give tax
> incentives to homeowners in the form of interest payment deductions
> encourage the "American Dream" of owning our own house in the
suburbs, but is
> this a good idea? It is really a subsidy to the building industry,
> promotes urban sprawl and long-distance commuting. We also promote
> familys by giving a deduction for every dependent, no matter how
> may have made sense when we were a rural nation and needed lots of
> hands, but now we are primarily urban; do we still need to
> population growth? More people = more consumption and pollution.
> 2. Why do the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) standards
> GM, Ford, etc (which were supposed to be increasing but in fact
have not for
> the past 8 years under Clinton) not count trucks, pickups, and
SUVs, the very
> vehicles that get the worst mileage?
> 3. It may not yet be efficient for each of us to power our homes
> cells or fuel cells but we need to require the commercial power
> build more wind powered installations. They have made a start in
> direction but it will be many years before it becomes a serious
> energy as the law is now written. We need to find out which
> sponsored this law and work with them and encourage them to do more.
> 4. Most people do not begin to realize all the hidden costs we pay
> addiction to oil. Fighting wars in the Middle East to protect "our"
> reserves, environmental damage, health effects for everyone,
> "incentives" to the oil companies - if all these costs were rolled
> price we pay at the pump rather than being hidden, we would find
that we pay
> between $5 and $15 per gallon for gasoline - but most of it is
> have been detailed studies done on this, and I can provide website
> for anyone who is interested.
> All these factors and many more are part of the overall picture -
> just solar cells. We need to think more about how to see the whole
> rather than just the trees and try to generate an overall approach
> energy problem. It's a big job and there are lots of powerful
> make big political contributions to make sure that we don't deal
with it in
> any meaningful way. Both major political parties are deeply
indebted to these
> interests, and the incoming administration is very much so.
> We really have our work cut out for us, but I think it would be
> try to devise an "Energy Policy for the 21st Century" that included
> things and whatever else we can come up with, then boil it down to
> paper - as short and concise as possible, which we would try to
> and wide. Any energy policy generated by either major party will
> continuously increasing energy demand using primarily oil, coal,
> but will have little mention of conservation or renewables. I'm
sure much has
> been done on this, and maybe the entire thing - someone somewhere
> already worked up such a plan, and we just need to research it and
> right statement. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?
> Charlie Mauch