First about global warming. There’s a lot of evidence and a lot of data and a lot of controversy. If there is evidence that says something may harm you, you take precautions to avoid it. We wear seat belts, obey stop lights, and look both ways before crossing the street. If you don’t do those things you aren’t certain to suffer, but it’s more likely and stupid to take risks you can easily avoid.
There is a range of theoretical dangers from global warming, from food shortages to global disaster displacing 600 million people who live within 10 meters of sea level.
There are many things that we can do to try to reduce our contribution to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Reducing our consumption of fossil fuels is one of them. There are at least 3 additional reasons to do this, each of which should compel us to do it independent of any others. If any one of these reasons convinces you, it doesn’t matter how you feel about the other 3.
The first is that we are poisoning the air we breathe, causing smog, cancer, acid rain, and all kinds of respiratory ailments. A clean source of energy would dramatically improve our health, and relieve us from billions of health care spending.
Second, we buy fossil fuels from parts of the world that we have a horrible history of destabilizing. The money we send there gives great power over us and then we feel compelled to mess with to “protect our national interests”. The wars over oil are a huge drain on our morality, our economy, and our international goodwill. We are far better off not participating in the trade of fossil fuel with these parts of the world at all, and letting them manage their own affairs.
Third, we send billions of our dollars out of the country every month for something we burn and the money never comes back. It is an incredible economic opportunity to lead the technology that provides clean domestic energy. We can export that technology to other countries. Every dollar spent on domestic energy rather than imported drives the economy rather than draining it.
All of this pushes me to want the world to move to any form of transportation energy that doesn’t use fossil fuel as fast as possible. I don’t know if battery electric cars are the best, or hydrogen fuel cell cars, or compressed air cars, or electric trains, or biodiesel made from algae, or ethanol made from switchgrass, or magic carpets.
I do know that electric cars work. I drive one every day, I’ve driven it across country. I plug it in at my house every day and it will never need to visit a gas station.