Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Real Threat

I don't understand people who decry the federal deficit as a future burden on our children but who show no interest in climate change. Which is worse for our children and grandchildren, an imaginary deficit (whether that's money owed to ourselves or the Chinese) or real changes to the climate?

As Chris Hayes said today,

While pundits, strategists, columnists, and politicians absolutely obsess over budget projections for the year 2040, those same strategists, columnists, and politicians seem remarkably sanguine about the fact that Arctic ice volume has shrunk by more than a third in the past decade. And more and more current data indicate that our previous climate models have underestimated the terrifying rate of change to our climate and overestimated just how much time we have left to get our collective asses in gear.

No one will care in 30 years -- I guarantee you -- what the deficit was in 2013.... What does matter are the molecules in the air, much much more than the numbers on a balance sheet.
On that note, here's a small glimpse of the problem. Yesterday I ate lunch at a semi-fast-food restaurant where you order at a counter, then sit down and wait five or so minutes for your food. When I arrived, the only spot handy was crowded by a very large black SUV that was over the dividing line, but I parked in it anyway.

Black SUV with FlexFuel logo, exhaust coming out of pipe, parked over the yellow line
As I got out of the car, I saw first that the SUV was running (the exhaust is somewhat visible in the photo), followed soon after by the realization that there was no one in it. And it had a FlexFuel logo near the right tail light.

When I got inside, there were two men in the process of ordering food. It's one of them, I thought, and he'll wait for his food and then leave. Not okay, in my opinion, but the time spent would be fairly short.

After each gave his order, I gave mine and sat by the window with a view of the SUV. In time, each man left with his food, but neither one went to the SUV. Other people left, and none of them went to the SUV.

At least 20 minutes after I had arrived, a group of four who had been eating their lunch inside the restaurant walked out the door and got in the SUV. They were already seated when I arrived, so I'd estimate they spent at least a half hour indoors while their gas hog sat outside idling.

It was about 15°F at the time, and I can only conclude that they left the vehicle running so it would still be nice and toasty for them when they returned. It was a sunny day, and the SUV is black. It wouldn't have gotten cold at all while sitting there, and in fact might have gotten very warm. Since the inside of a car is basically, you know, oh, what's the word... oh, right -- a greenhouse.

They only thing good I can think of to say about their behavior is that at least there were four of them sharing the gas-guzzling ride.

1 comment:

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I think some municipalities have laws against idling like that, but maybe they only apply to city-owned automobiles. I always meant to look into that.