Magazine

Energy Conservation: A Long Way To Go


The energy-conservation option must become our top priority ("Global warming," Cover Story, Aug. 23-30). Surely, conservation must, at last, be taken seriously by government policymakers, the power industry, and everyone else in all countries. Alas, it becomes easier under a paradigm shift where we, as individuals, take more responsibility for meeting our own personal energy needs -- especially through the use of solar-power devices installed on our own properties -- with a view to reducing our reliance on centralized energy infrastructure, which is often ugly and heavily polluting.

As self-generators of our own energy, we would develop an enhanced awareness of our own power use and waste patterns and, as a result, be more prone to reduce our consumption or, at least, to curb accelerating energy demand. Excessive power generated for personal requirements from solar energy, for example, could be released into the grid for use by others.

Garry Carnegie

Academic Head, School of Enterprise

Melbourne University Private

Hawthorn, Australia

Together with Hillary Clinton's journey to Svalbard [islands in the Arctic Circle] to get a firsthand knowledge of climate changes, your "Global warming" report is a hopeful sign that the U.S. will start to take the threat seriously. To slow down the climate changes, I believe we will have to change not only the way we do business but also the way we live.

The section following the Global Warming report, "The Executive Life," featuring energy-consuming travel and luxury cars, is a reminder that we haven't started considering real changes yet.

Morten Markus

Arendal, Norway

My criticism of John Carey's article regards the total absence in it of any comment on the contribution made by air transport to the world's greenhouse-gas emissions. While governments and economists evolve weird and complicated arrangements to bring market forces to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by industry and by people just living, little attention seems to be given to this high-level generator of pollutants. Air transport is just one of several major sources of greenhouse gases not mentioned. A wasted opportunity.

Leslie M. Teasdale

Lowdham, Nottinghamshire

England

Excellent report on global warming. But obviously there's still a huge amount of work to be done to alter individual and corporate mentalities to combat climate change. A small example: In the same edition of BusinessWeek, we read that wasteful SUVs' humming sales are a good thing ("Stability shouldn't be optional," News: The United States, Aug. 23-30). Isn't it a bit contradictory with reducing CO2 emissions? In the future, it will be necessary to evaluate every action or product with regard to its environmental impact, without forgetting that big profits can be made with products that contribute to the strike against climate change.

Pascal Simonon

Luxembourg

Private industry is already taking considerable steps toward a cleaner, more efficient energy future without coercion from politically driven Washington mandates. We simply will not be in a position to drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels for at least the next 15 to 20 years. Enacting command-and-control legislation would only force U.S. companies to unilaterally disarm in the face of unprecedented global economic competition. U.S. scientists, engineers, and manufacturers have managed to improve America's energy efficiency by 46% in the past three decades. If left to their own devices, they will continue to move our economy and environment ahead in the 21st century.

Mark Whitenton

Vice-President, Resources & Environmental Policy

National Association of Manufacturers

Washington, D.C.

Many major U.S.-based corporations are laggards on the issue, behind their competitors in Europe and Japan. There are still many executives in major U.S. corporations in the automotive and oil industries who have yet to recognize that their attitudes and inaction on global warming are short-sighted and strategically unwise as well as socially irresponsible.

Thomas L. Brewer

Georgetown University

McDonough School of Business

Washington, D.C.

Opportunities exist for the development and commercialization of agricultural technologies that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, such as anaerobic digestion of manure, as well as practices that can sequester atmospheric carbon in the soils, such as reduced tillage. Many of these practices have additional benefits, such as soil conservation, improved fertility, and value-added products. In addition, agricultural biomass can be used to displace a variety of fossil-fuel-based energy products, such as plastics. That keeps American energy dollars at home and creates new value-added products to benefit farmers.

Chad Kruger

Director of Outreach

Climate Friendly Farming

Wenatchee, Wash.

The unspoken consensus in much of the energy community is that you cannot address global warming without substantial additions of nuclear energy. Efficiency improvements have lowered operating costs to those below coal-burning. We're ready for advanced nuclear plants, already being built overseas. It's in all our best interests to help make nuclear power one of the central, zero-emissions energy sources of the coming decades.

William H. Miller

Nuclear Science & Engineering Institute

University of Missouri

Columbia, Mo.


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