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A low-carbon future doesn't mean losing our lifestyle


Knows where his towel is
Apr 23, 2015
A big challenge for politicians gathering in Paris for the UN Climate Summit, or COP21, is the fear that weaning ourselves off fossil fuels means giving up the very comfortable lifestyles we have enjoyed for the last century.

But a more realistic vision of the future does not have to involve going back to living in trees and caves.

You have to admit - it's so convenient to have a blue flame from natural gas instantly appear in your kitchen stove to cook dinner, or provide hot water for the shower and heat for the home.

There is tremendous freedom getting into a vehicle all by yourself and driving it anywhere on the continent, confident that a filling station will always appear somewhere over the horizon.

The synthetic clothes we wear, the plastics that mould our lives and just about all of the other conveniences that have shaped modern civilization have been provided by the black gold that comes out of the ground.

If it weren't for those nasty emissions that come out of tailpipes and smokestacks, we wouldn't need international conventions on climate change. But they do. And that means getting rid of the processes that produce those emissions.

Part of the vision of a carbon-free future is already here. The hottest four-door sedan on the road at the moment has no tailpipe. The fully electric Tesla Model S goes from zero to 100 km/hr in three seconds. It will blow the doors off a conventional combustion engine car, and does it with zero pollution.

This is not to say that all future cars need to be expensive, high-performance dragsters. There are other electric vehicles at more reasonable prices. But the Tesla demonstrates that going green can still embody the luxuries that have been available to us for so long.

Mainstream automakers are finally catching on to the idea that people are willing to buy electric cars, if they provide the same comfort and convenience as the vehicles they've been used to.

However, it doesn't necessarily mean we have to give up our entire lifestyle. We just need a new vision of what that future life will look like.

Full article at:
It certainly is a good article and very much on point... not just scaremongering! The paralysis we've seen is (IMHO) significantly caused by the perceived lack of a realistic solution to our problem. The solutions exist... we just need to take the bull by the horns.

There is no reason that natural gas needs to disappear completely. If we used only gas that came from renewables and used it for smaller things like cooking... and not to power the economy in general... that would not appreciably contribute to climate change. Carbon in the carbon cycle isn't the issue... it's adding the carbon that has been safely sequestered for millennia that creates the problem.

I look at my lifestyle and have zero to complain about. I live in the first world and I live well. We have a gas stove and a gas BBQ. The house is heated by a geo-exchange system with electricity generated by hydro (85% green in my Province). Solar panels on the roof of the house help to offset that 15% and of course, the Tesla is as clean as we can hope for today. Certainly, my location makes the hydro generation possible - not possible everywhere I realize... but the short cold winter days mean my panels aren't as efficient as in lower latitudes and my power needs are that much greater.

My point is, I managed all of this without making any compromises and many others on this forum live in similar circumstances. The trick is to convince those people, who don't understand, how simple and painless some of the basic steps actually are.

Pitter-patter, let's get at 'er!

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