Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What’s Wrong With the Idea of Powering Your Own House?

While nosing around the internet, I came across this anti-climate change gem from the World Net Daily.  Don’t waste your time clicking on the link, unless you’re looking to slap your forehead in disbelief.  It’s a typical nutter screed about how Google’s investment in solar panels ends up costing them in the end.  The author uses coffee makers as an example and concludes that the coffee makers end up costing Google $1,500 a piece.  I’m sure in his mind the numbers add up, but they didn’t make any sense to me.  If you can show his math, then, please, by all means, let me know

On second thought, don’t because I really don’t care.  The story itself is not the point of this post.  I noticed that the article had been submitted to Digg, so I headed over to bury the utter nonsense.  While I was there, I began to read the comments.  It was the typical Digg comment scene of environmentalists clashing with climate change deniers for the hearts and minds of people who haven’t made up their mind yet.  That said, it has been my experience that if you’re reading the comments, you probably already have an opinion. 

While I read, I came across two comments, both from an individual who identifies himself as ItSaulGood, that struck me.  First, he argued that all technology, while expensive at first, always comes down in price.  He uses the example of cell phones to prove his point.  You know, they went from rare, big, and unreliable to small, cheap, able to work everywhere and everybody has one.  The second, and the more powerful comment of the two, had to do with the fact that he has solar panels on his home.  These panels power 80% of his home needs and that he in the process of adding more, with the goal of selling the excess power he creates back to the power company.

The idea of selling power to the power company should blow everybody’s mind.  Everybody is looking for ways to cut costs, right?  Interested in saving money?  Yes?  Can you imagine if you didn’t have an electric bill?  Sure, it’s only thirty or forty bucks a month, but that’s 30 or 40 bucks saved!  Costs cut!  And, if you make more power than you need, you can sell it back into the system!  Money earned!  Why wouldn’t anybody be interested in making money?  I’m talking about an actual possibility that along with your water heater and your oven, wind turbines and solar panels could be required home appliances.  What is wrong with that idea?  I understand that it’s not cost effective now, but using the cell phone as a template, costs will come down and everybody will power their own homes!  Amazing! 

Of course, the climate change deniers say there’s enough oil and coal for centuries and we don’t have to worry about it.  Why would we want to change?  There’s no need.  I mean, Glenn Beck said himself that we pollute when we exhale (to laughs), so this whole global warming business is bunk, right?  Plus, it’s too expensive to cover your roof in solar panels anyway.  And, we pollute when we manufacture the panels, so we’re damned if we do damned if we don’t.  Right?  I find this whole defeatist, “it’ll never change, so why bother” mentality insulting.  While we’re at it…you’ll never get a companion, never have a friend, never get thin, never finish a book, never see the world, etc., etc., so why bother?  Just dig a hole and die already, right?  I mean, really, what’s to live for?  Just stop it!  We’re Americans!!!  We can do anything!!!

Back to the matter at hand, I’m sorry to say this is where Al Gore fucked up.  See, people look outside, see a clear sunny day, and tell themselves that nothing is wrong, therefore, there is no such thing as global warming.  Miami and New York haven’t flooded yet, so, obviously, there’s no problem.  Unless people exhale a black cloud, the Earth’s climate just doesn’t register in real, concrete terms.  You can blow stats and show pictures until your about to faint, but until it hits their backyard, it doesn’t register.  Add all of that the the fact that the right hates Al Gore’s guts for nothing that I can see except for being a Democrat, and you’re fighting an uphill battle against an already dense section of the population.

What does register with these people is money.  They argue that the new energy policy is another of Obama’s sneaky tax schemes.  Alright then, how about the country gives you a tax credit to install solar panels on your roof and another credit to install a wind turbine?  All of the sudden, your energy costs are down and you got, gasp, government help to do it.  Your tax dollars returned for a noble cause!  Add enough home energy improvements and before you know it, your home is powered independently of the local utility.  Make excess power?  Make extra money by selling your surplus back to the network.  Before you know it, we’ve addressed climate change and we didn’t have to discuss the environment to do it.  Brilliant!

That, my friends, is how I propose we sell climate change going forward.  Yes, we’re saving the environment, but people aren’t interested.  They are interested in money.  Therefore, make it a pocketbook issue.  I’m confident, it’s a winner.

No comments:

Post a Comment