Agree to Disagree

Each week I compile a newsletter of carbon and climate related articles. As I sift through articles about cap and trade, energy efficiency, renewable energy, etc., I always find myself drawn to the reader comments that follow the article. Inevitably, there will be a quote from the person who believes the earth is cooling, a rant from the guy who thinks government should not interfere with our emissions and the person who thinks a 2 degree change in global temperatures is not something to stress out about.

My first reaction to these comments is usually outrage. My heart rate speeds up and I want to cite the IPCC’s fourth assessment report and attach links to the satellite photos which show the retreat of Wilkin’s ice shelf… but then I stop myself and think of a more persuasive approach.

I concede there may be plenty of political and philosophical differences on climate change and the idea of government regulation of emissions. However, I think it is more important to focus on certain issues that we call can agree on.

Saving money through energy saving techniques:

Energy efficiency translates into a language we can all understand – saving money. Companies such as the Gap and Wal-Mart have learned that by measuring and analyzing their carbon footprint they can determine where they can cut back on energy use (and CO2 emissions) thereby positively affecting the bottom line. These types of savings can occur at the individual level as well. Small acts such as switching to LEDs or CFLs and carpooling actually end up as money in your pocket. Who can argue with that?

Worldwide health benefits attributable to cleaner air:

The effects of air pollution on human health are drastic and widespread. Air pollution most commonly affects the body’s respiratory system and the cardiovascular system. As a society, we pay for the health effects of air pollution through increased health care costs to treat these conditions as well as a diminished quality of life. I’m sure most people reading this would welcome cleaner air, improved health and lower treatment costs.

So… while there is much we may not agree on I think it is more important to focus on what we do agree on. Because, reducing emissions for any reason – is a good thing.