Letters to the Editor: Let your lawn die, but don’t plant natives just yet – April 15, 2012
Editor’s Note: This is the first of a four-part series, “Let’s Save Our Native Forests.” This week, readers are asked: “What does the future of our native forests look like?”
For the last 150 years, our nation’s economy has been based on the combustion of coal, oil, and natural gas. These fuels are also fueling our power plants, which in turn burn our forests for electricity. If we want to maintain our current energy economy in the future, we must transition to something else.
There are three options for reducing our carbon footprint and our dependence on fossil fuels. First, we can cut back the amount we produce with energy. The second is to produce the energy we need with clean forms of renewable energy. The third option is to conserve fuels. For example, you could run your home on a combination of gas, wood, and electricity.
A third option is to transition away from coal and hydro power to electric vehicles. We have already started that process, and it is the cleanest option.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has published a report, “Reducing CO2 emissions from global energy systems: A strategic approach to energy transition using advanced technologies,” on the emissions from our energy systems, including transportation.
The report describes how we can use a combination of energy sources that produce less carbon emissions. Energy efficiency, renewable power and efficiency byproducts are all ways to cut CO2 emissions.
One of the reasons the economy is going down the tubes is because the government is in denial of the facts.
Here are five facts:
1. Electricity generated by burning fossils fuels are only a small fraction of the energy used by the U.S. and other industrialized countries.
2. When we look at the total energy consumption of the United States, we see that we use more fossil fuels than we do electricity.
3. The United States does not produce the amount of energy we consume. The United States consumes more fuel for transportation than we produce.
4. When we look at the energy efficiency of buildings and transportation, we are talking about efficiency in the form of fuel savings