Running full blast, a car’s air conditioner dramatically increases levels of noxious exhaust in the surrounding air, guaranteeing that other drivers will have to keep their windows closed and the air running. In that, as in many other ways — by aggravating global warming, by encouraging poor building ventilation, by increasing our own biological susceptibility to heat — dependence on air conditioning always seems to generate demand for more air conditioning.
Air conditioning buildings and cars in the United States has the climate impact of half a billion metric tons of carbon dioxide a year. That exceeds the total annual carbon dioxide emissions of any one of these nations: Australia, France, Brazil or Indonesia. In an effort to reduce energy use and curb greenhouse emissions, industry and government are pursuing more efficient cooling technologies for cars and buildings. But greater efficiency can’t reverse the unsustainable living, working and transportation patterns that air conditioning has helped foster.
Greener building designs that favor natural ventilation will help, but in the millions of existing homes, workplaces and schools that we’ll be using for decades to come, the most important adjustment will be not in our thermostats but in our own comfort expectations.
Businesses can help. Studies find that the majority of office employees are already dissatisfied with their workplace temperature, and that the most important improvement employers can make is to give workers more control over windows, shades, air movement, clothing, position and location.
The key to reducing the impact of mobile air conditioning is to keep as many cars as possible at home and switched off. That will mean restructuring cities and suburbs as pedestrian havens, discouraging car travel (and keeping cities cooler) by replacing parking lots with parks, and launching a crash expansion of inexpensive, convenient and cool mass transportation.
In other words, we need to back out of the ecological dead-end alley we’ve been traveling down for half a century. It won’t be easy. With air conditioning so thoroughly integrated into American society, we’re going to have trouble finding reverse gear. But it’s there.
(Hat tip: Right Wing News)
This dunce’s name is Stan Cox, and the Los Angeles Times gave him space to spout his Luddite drivel bashing the miracle of air conditioning, which is one of the greatest inventions in human history and has prolonged and improved the quality of lives the world over. The effect of air conditioning, as everyone with half a brain knows, on civilization is astonishing in its profundity; locales where there is air conditioning are, in general, peaceful and productive, while locales where it is not present are violent and dysfunctional. Even in America this is largely true – go to the South Side of Chicago in the heat of the summer and you will find a simmering cauldron of misery and potential human atrocity, while suburban Houston on the same day is, by contrast, an idyllic existence.
But that has little value to trolls like Cox, for whom the misery of others is of little consequence. Esoteric nonsense like “carbon footprints” and “greenhouse emissions” which have been flogged for a generation as a panacea for all that ails civilization in a time of runaway prosperity are all he can offer as a justification for suggesting that his fellow human beings endure misery. Cox won’t come out and say it, but he and his fellow compassionate and concerned members of the progressive elite would also demand that their ideas be put in place through the force of government, rather than individual choice. Think he’s an imbecile? Shut up and sweat.
And Cox is winning. One-third of America’s domestic oil supply comes from the Gulf of Mexico. The most productive areas of the Gulf are in the deepwater areas where wells like BP’s Macondo contain huge reserves and offer excellent paydays to offshore drillers. The future of America’s economy depends, in no small part, on maximizing our domestic energy production by drilling in the deepwater Gulf – without it, we’ll be forced to export scores, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars to countries who don’t like us. And of course, without deepwater drilling in the Gulf and elsewhere the loss of well-paying jobs in states like Louisiana and Texas will be measured in the tens of thousands.
But that doesn’t matter to the Stan Coxes of the world. Lose your job in the oil patch because of Obama’s moratorium? Well, you can’t make an omelet without breaking an egg or two. Too much American capital offshored to Egypt or Nigeria or Brazil? We can solve that – everybody buy a bike and ride it like they do in China or Vietnam. Nobody’s fat in those countries like we are here, after all. They must be healthier. Or not. Anyway, like Cox says, we should stop living in the suburbs and move back to the inner cities where enlightened left-wing politicians know what’s good for us. Like in Detroit, for example.
Keep all this in mind if you’re planning to attend Wednesday’s Rally For Economic Survival in Lafayette from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Because while some 20,000 or more folks are expected to descend on the Cajundome for the event, there will be counter-protestors on hand to picket the rally and to support the “Jobs Moratorium.”
The counter-protestors, apparently led by a local community organizer named Wallace Senegal – whose name turns up in a Google search several times agitating for various causes which all seem to involve the redistribution of wealth from the creators of it to its consumers – put out a release justifying their planned action:
In a news release, the pro-moratorium group states that the moratorium will affect no more than 10 percent of the 320,000-plus jobs in Louisiana that are supported by the oil and gas industry.
“As a result, we believe economic survival is environmental safety and is essential for the more than 58,000 Louisianans working in extraction, refining and pipeline jobs,” they wrote. “Each day, the moratorium costs $34 million, but if one life is saved and the environment is not polluted, it is worth it.”
In other words, “only” 32,000 folks will be put out of work by the moratorium. And since “economic survival is environmental safety” (what in the hell does that mean, anyway?), if one life is saved and the environment isn’t polluted it’s worth losing $34 million per day for half a year.
Senegal also says that “We’re not against economics. We’re saying, ‘Let’s do it safely.'” One wonders, given the indecipherable bilge in his organization’s press release, whether the man can even spell economics, much less define the analysis by which he arrives at the idea that “not polluting the environment,” another meaningless phrase which can’t survive scrutiny, is worth $34 million per day in economic loss. Of course it is, to Senegal – it’s not his $34 million, and it never will be. And if it’s “only” 32,000 jobs affected by the moratorium, none of them will be North Lafayette community organizers, so it’s certainly no skin off his backside.
And besides, Senegal says his group wants to make sure BP foots the bill for everybody who’s out of work because of the moratorium – which they define as “lost wages for workers.” Conspicuously absent is any concern for the employers who are normally responsible for paying those wages; one can imagine those rich – and overwhelmingly pallid – fat cats can pound seed for the duration of the moratorium. So really there’s nothing to worry about; they’ve got it covered.
This is the kind of abject pig-ignorance and malevolent disregard for one’s fellow man which characterizes the “environmental” Left. No one at the Rally For Economic Survival on Wednesday will argue for unsafe drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, and few there will have anything nice to say about the substandard well design and sketchy decisions made by BP in attempting to cut corners to bring the Macondo prospect on line. No one at the rally is for polluting the environment, and outside of BP’s consistent pattern of rapacious disregard for safety in both its upstream and downstream operations the oil industry has a staggeringly clean record on safety and environmental performance.
None of that matters. Science, economics, human life – unimportant to our betters in the environmentalist Left. They’re out to save us from ourselves. From forcing us to bake in sweltering homes to sentencing us to unemployment checks and charity from a soon-to-be-bankrupt BP, they just need us to hang on and sacrifice for the sake of the Planet. They’re going to Save The Gulf from the oil companies on Wednesday, and to those of us who don’t see the light yet, well, they’ll be watching us to make sure we don’t do or say anything which can be construed as racist.
Because after all, people ungrateful about the prospect of being put out of work by government fiat are dangerous like that.