Friday, September 25, 2009

Some Deep Thoughts on Shrinking a Person's Carbon Footprint

To reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, we need per-capita emissions to decline faster than population grows. Given continued world per-capita income growth, how can we reduce per-capita carbon emissions?

My strong Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger argues here that children should not take long hot showers. His thoughts are interesting on a number of levels. His push for "minimalist consumption" would stand out in Brentwood. The article highlights that he has 4 children. If each of them takes a 5 minute hot shower, perhaps I should encourage my 1 child to take a 20 minute hot shower? Don't we have an equal right to scarce resources?

An alternative strategy for shrinking the carbon footprint is to make energy intensive technologies less fun to use. Read this . Consider taking the elevator versus the stairs. This article says that if elevators were slower and smaller that more people would take the stairs, Gary Becker made this point in 1965. Time is money.

I realize that we will embrace many different strategies to reduce our carbon production.

But at the end of the day, we do need the nudge of the carbon tax. Will the Senate agree?