Though Sarah Palin may suggest that the causes of climate change aren't important and it's what we're going to do about it that matters, others, Joe Biden, for example, have suggested the causes of global warming do matter.
How else can you solve the problem if you don't address the cause?
In the Wall Street Journal, Jeffrey Ball says that while it's easy to mock little efforts to save the environment, such as toting reusable grocery bags or changing light bulbs, consumers actually can make a difference and they have more influence over climate change than they might think.
Ball references new McKinsey & Co. statistics that say American consumers have direct or indirect control over 65% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions. This is more than 20% greater than the figure for the rest of the world, largely because of how Americans drive and build and use their homes and offices, according to the article.
While some of those emissions are controlled by industry, such as oil, steel, and chemicals, other emission sources are directly controlled by consumers, and when pooled together, they add up to even outweigh industry's contribution.
For example, passenger cars make up 17% of US emissions, according to the article. Consumers have control over this number; they could buy more efficient cars or drive less. Residential buildings and appliances contribute another 17% of emissions. Homeowners can reduce this number by addressing energy issues in a home such as adding more insulation or replacing an old washing machine with an energy efficient one.
But the author realizes changes like these are costly. What's the average concerned citizen to do?
He suggests taxing energy consumption more heavily, which would make an energy inefficient lifestyle more expensive. This would give consumers incentives to invest in fuel efficient vehicles and appliances, and provide companies with the incentive to make these changes.
We've seen evidence of Americans' ability to change when facing higher costs. As gas prices soared, Americans reduced their gasoline consumption, and are buying smaller, fuel-efficent cars instead of gas-guzzling SUVs.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.