TCS Daily


Time for Action on Global Warming!

By Roy Spencer - June 20, 2005 12:00 AM

I've decided it's time to get serious about Global Warming. The national academies of science of eleven nations recently united to warn us of impeding climatic doom resulting from our careless inflation of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration from its God-ordained 19th century value of 0.00029 to the current astronomical magnitude of 0.00038. With increasing fears that this extra plant food will cause a choking of our cities and highways with unwanted greenery, and the Russians' concern that winter temperatures will warm above -40 deg. F, thus changing the hibernation habits of the endangered Siberian snow snake, I must now join the chorus of voices calling for action.

Unfortunately, most of the bills currently being debated by congress (McCain-Lieberman; Domenici-Bingaman) to help reduce the use of fossil fuels will fix only a miniscule part of the problem, with literally unmeasurable effects on global temperatures in the coming decades.

In response to this lack of leadership, I have decided it is time to campaign for my own legislation. I am hopeful that my ideas will take our congressional leadership by storm, and become part of the energy bill now being debated in the Senate.

The Spencer-Spencer bill (the name reflects my desire to get full credit for these ideas) will meet the challenges of Global Warming head-on, avoiding most our projected future emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. I propose a gradual phase-in, over periods of up to 10 days, of the following measures:

        1) Addition of a $10 per gallon tax on gasoline and diesel fuel. This will 
        result in an immediate reduction in gasoline use, probably remove our 
        dependence on foreign oil, and there will be no need to drill in ANWR. 
        Millions of displaced workers in the petroleum industry will be needed in 
        the rapidly-expanding bicycle manufacturing sector. As a side benefit, 
        the Europeans will no longer be jealous over our low fuel taxes (the real 
        reason for current poor relations), and a new era of cooperation between 
        the U.S. and the EU will emerge.

        2) The average gas mileage of cars will be increased to meet a mandated 
        100 mpg. This will force the automakers to use their high-mpg fuel injection 
        and lean combustion technologies that they have been hiding from us 
        through collusion with the petroleum industry (I read about this terrible 
        injustice while waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store).

        3) Electricity generation will be required to be at least 90% from renewable 
        resources. Using my extensive background in physics and economics, 
        I have calculated that this will reduce electricity consumption by close to 
        90%, a huge savings in energy.

        4) Re-institute a national speed limit, set to 35 mph. After our country's 
        previous success with speed limit reductions to 55 mph, a lower limit should 
        be even more attractive to the public. (The 35 mph limit should be more 
        than enough, anyway, since most ground transportation will be by bicycle.)

        5) Jogging will be outlawed. It is a little known fact that the extra carbon 
        dioxide (and methane, an especially potent greenhouse gas) emitted by 
        joggers accounts for close to 10% of the current Global Warming problem. 
        This will have an additional, rejuvenating psychological advantage for the 
        overwhelming majority of us who do not jog, resulting in an immediate 
        jump in productivity and thus GDP.

        6) All roads and buildings in cities will be required to be painted white. This 
        will eliminate the urban heat island effect, which is clearly out of control.

Of course, for the good of the country, some people will necessarily be exempt from these new restrictions. Policymakers, scientists, and policymaking scientists, owing to their irreplaceable roles in society, will be the only three groups allowed to travel at any speed and consume any amount of fuel. As a result, "HOV" lanes will be redesignated "PS" lanes. Air travel will also be restricted to only these three groups.

These changes will be difficult at first, but as has been stated repeatedly by scientists and politicians alike, Global Warming is a greater threat to humanity than terrorism, nuclear proliferation, celebrity trials, and editorial bad humor, combined. It is time to put petty partisan politics aside, and unite for the common good of humanity.

I call on the Senate to adopt Spencer-Spencer as part of the energy bill.

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