We can start conserving right now

Climate experts tell us that the world needs to act decisively now, not five or 10 years from now, to reduce our carbon footprint.

One might think that the United States is getting serious about global warming -- with Congress passing, and President Bush signing, a bill to raise vehicle fuel-efficiency standards. It must be noted, however, that we gave ourselves 13 years to accomplish that goal. In the newspaper recently, we read "Mazda crossover gets bigger engine." I have observed this kind of thing in the reporting on almost every new vehicle.

We know from the standards in Europe, and even China, that we could achieve much of the year 2020 goal immediately by using known technology, and by eliminating all the vehicles made with high performance in mind, and those with the extra ton unneeded for simply transporting us. Buyers of these models clearly are unconcerned or unaware of global warming. What is happening in the Arctic and Antarctica must not be dismissed.

Besides a stiffer move to improve vehicle fuel efficiency, we should include a hefty carbon tax, offset by a cut in payroll taxes. We would have the incentive to reduce our carbon footprint, and could even save money. The more popular "cap and trade" would be slow, and rife with game-playing. It is uncertain who would pay and who gets paid, or how much it would reduce coal or gasoline use, the two most significant carbon emitters, but it's likely that a good part would come out of our pockets.

Gasoline isn't for fun anymore -- which brings me to NASCAR, but that's another story.

Victor Reilly, Aiken

More