I’m not too concerned about where people stand on climate change. We’re at a point where people agree that’s it’s happening, but for some there is debate on the role humans play.
Then let’s define the debate this way:
One side says we have to cut our burning of fossil fuels to stem climate change. This side includes the chief executives of 10 major corporations (citation from FOX News), a UN panel of 2,500 scientists (citation from Reuters), and the more than 160 nations that have ratified or at least accepted the Kyoto Protocol (see list).
The other side says the jury is still out on the role humans play in climate change. The science of climate analysis is anything but precise, and there have been countless shifts in the climate over Earth’s long history. There are scientists out there with evidence that shows how these and other ideas disprove the claims of environmentalists worried about climate change (look at this scientific looking website).
To some, the latter camp is populated by crackpots and schemers. To others, the former camp is composed of alarmists and conspirators. No matter where you situate yourself, the topic is hot. It is on the public’s mind, and I was wondering about the role it would play in the speeches last night.
Despite nearly overwhelming public concern on the issue, President Bush didn’t make much of climate change in his State of the Union Address, apparently siding himself with the latter camp. Indeed he is a hero to those who claim the concerns over climate change are exaggerated, as he is one of the only leaders from a developed nation to reject the Kyoto Protocol. (I will accept that this decision may be influenced more by the President’s belief in corporate freedom than his denial of the overwhelming scientific evidence. And now don’t take this to mean I’m happy with those who signed on to Kyoto.
Nevertheless, something in the speech did touch on the issue. The President would like
He did get me thinking, however.
It is transportation, specifically air and auto transit, that accounts for the vast majority of the world's consumption of oil. Europe can’t figure out how to deal with the issue, and
My answer is trains.
Here’s my thinking. I hate traveling by plane, and I don’t care for driving. I love trains. Can’t say why, but I think trains are great. The rise of short-haul airlines has ruined the train industry here in
Developed nations need to invest in suburban and commuter rail lines. They need to make rail more comfortable and competitive. Trains should be made significantly cheaper than air travel. The cost of gas, tolls, and time should be comparable to the cost of a monthly train pass. There should be internet access and a gym-car on commuter lines. The cafes shouldn’t price gouge. And yes, I think this should all be made possible with tax dollars.
My question for readers is this: am I letting my love of trains cloud my judgment, or does this sound like part of a solution?