Here’s a funny headline. I mean, not Jay Leno funny, but funny. “Energy-saving programs lose funding.” The irony being that an equally accurate headline could have been “Energy-saving programs save money (and the planet).” At least, that’s what I would have written. But maybe that’s why I still haven’t heard back from any of those headline-writing jobs I applied for.
Remember, this is a simple physics problem (if there is such a thing). Even if we forget how much money can be saved by using less energy and being more efficient (read, competitive), this world still only has one energy input. In other words, we get a finite amount of energy to use each day. And currently, we’re burning (literally) through 10,000 days worth of energy every 24 hours (by using up non-renewable, stored energy from the past).
Look at it this way. Imagine you had a large bank balance (fossil fuels), an income of only $40,000 a year (the sun), and annual expenses of $400,000,000 (cars, food from around the world, over-air-conditioned offices, etc). A friend might worry about you and speak up. “Hey,” they’d say. “Looks like you might be spending beyond your means there buddy. Think maybe you should cut back?”
“No way,” you’d have to reply, “that’s not realistic. I mean, I’d have to change my lifestyle! Don’t be crazy. And shave your sideburns, hippy.”
Or something like that. The point is, at the end of the day, conservation has to be the cornerstone of any responsible energy policy. And yes, that does mean we might have to turn off some lights. Sorry. On the other hand, we get to keep breathing. So, you know, there’s that.