Even among those of us who want to be part of the solution to global climate change, there is a lot of confusion on how to get there. Buy a Prius? Put a solar cell on the roof? Grow your own vegetables? All helpful ideas, but is any of those the best way to proceed?
The problem, of course, is that there is no one right answer. It's true that if you take one of those actions, you'll likely be helping. But we're on a deadline here: The level considered safe is 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and we're already at 385 and growing by 2 ppm a year.
So part of the answer has to be, what actions will be most effective most quickly? What are the worst offenders, and then, what are the best actions to redress those?
Architecture 2030, a New Mexico-based group seeking to address global climate change through changing how buildings are built or renovated, has released a report that "spends" $21 billion (a pittance in current parlance) on building new coal plants, new nuclear plants, or on energy efficiency. Anyone wanna guess which came out on top?
The point should be obvious to all: Energy you don't have to produce — via wind and solar, never mind coal and nuclear — is wicked cheap! Yes, it would take money, in addition to a new thought approach, to build and renovate with efficiency uppermost in mind, but which one is going to return the investment better?
The six-page report (pdf) is very easy reading, and I commend it to you.