Letters: Jan. 2, 2020

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Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Tesla factory is no miracle

Today I read Paul Danish’s opinion piece “Gigafactory 3: Tesla’s miracle in Shanghai” (Re: Danish Plan, Dec. 19, 2019) and had some thoughts on it:

1) Wouldn’t it be lovely to have Teslas manufactured in the U.S. instead of China? Now with this new factory in China, they can see behind the curtain of Tesla technology and before long they will do what China always does: Come up with cheap copies… 

2) There is nothing miraculous about the speed in which a totalitarian regime, which has no workers rights or environmental standards to abide to, can build factories. The reason the public environmental consultation was done in a record 10 days, is because as usual, there was none done, really.

Sorry I cannot see the holiday miracle that Paul sees here. 

Michael Klein/Boulder

From A to B on Climate

Paul Danish’s column on COP25, the Madrid Climate Conference, (Re: “Another year, another record and COP25,” Danish Plan, Dec. 4, 2019) mocked efforts to cut carbon dioxide, offering a hard-boiled perspective that nobody actually cares and its not going to happen any time soon, if ever. Specifically, Danish wrote that cutting emissions by 7.6% every year between 2020 and 2030 is somehow an impossible pipe dream — because efforts to date have yet to succeed.

Nonsense. Say your hard-drinking uncle drinks a 12-pack of beer a night. To kick the habit by ramping down instead of going cold turkey, he can drink 11 beers a night in 2020, 10 in 2021 and so on — until he’s at zero (or maybe just the one) by 2030. That’s doable and so gradual he would hardly notice. 

Making the analogy to fossil fuel consumption, commuting to work one less day every two weeks (one day out of 10) saves 10% of the fuel from the annual commute. Many of us are already telecommuting once or twice a week; more can do the same. Another option is to work eight 9-hour days and one 8-hour day every two weeks for the same total of 80 hours over two work weeks. Eight 10s double your saving, as does combining telecommuting and longer days.

Reducing hours driven with that gasoline-powered engine buys time to replace it with an EV [electric vehicle] powered by a green grid — reducing one’s commuting carbon footprint close to zero. Former Boulder Mayor Will Toor is implementing one of the country’s most comprehensive EV programs at the Colorado Energy Office. In conjunction with ramping down and phasing out hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas, the EV initiative will go a long ways to restoring clean, breathable air and visibility across Colorado. 

Colorado is on the verge of a clean renewable grid — because wind and battery storage is far cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives, and solar plus storage is cost-competitive. In 2020, the Colorado General Assembly is expected to approve Community Choice Energy options to accelerate the pace and scale of deploying renewables and micro-grids while rewarding conservation and efficiency. We’re joining regional power authorities to make the green grid work across North America. 

Net zero construction will remake the residential and commercial sectors of the built economy. We have the technology; it just needs to be deployed. Pueblo and EVRAZ inked a deal for the first steel mill on earth to be largely powered by cheap energy from a solar facility – representing massive progress for the challenging heavy industry sector. Colorado is brimming with solutions, not pessimism. 

The point is that we’re reducing emissions economy-wide. A fair and equitable transition will be an enormous boost for the economy as we rebuild and update our energy infrastructure, creating good jobs for displaced workers from the fossil fuel sector. On top of that, investing in climate-friendly solutions today will save us many times over those amounts by reducing costs of reacting to wildfires, floods, hurricanes and displaced climate refugees tomorrow.

We can do this. We need to commit, we need a plan and we need to fund it. It’s called the Green New Deal and we can vote it into reality on Nov. 3, 2020. States, towns, cities, counties and households (including a few common Boulder species, the two-wheeled commuters and the off-grid patriots) have been leading by pioneering workable solutions. For the U.S. Senate, Andy Romanoff is our best choice on climate and environment.

Mike Chiropolos/Boulder