May 20, 2006


The pot called the kettle black today in the WaPo. Here's what they had to say about suburban single-family homes:

"There is an even more critical reason to rethink the suburban lifestyle: the energy it consumes. More than 40 percent of the planet-warming greenhouse gases that we collectively produce every day are directly or indirectly tied to our buildings. Half these buildings are houses.

How are houses and global warming connected? Our houses, like our cars, are powered by fossil fuels. When burned, these produce carbon dioxide, as well as small amounts of other greenhouse gases such as methane. For heating, most of our furnaces run on natural gas or oil and the carbon dioxide vents up the chimney. For cooling, lighting and appliances, we depend on electricity. Nationwide, about half of that is generated at coal-burning plants, which are huge polluters. Twenty percent more is generated at natural gas-fired plants, which are also polluting, but not as much. "

The third piece of the suburban lifestyle that is untenable for the long term is the nearly universal dependence on automobiles, which also produce prodigious amounts of greenhouse gases. Fuel-efficient hybrid cars can reduce the emissions of individual cars, but if a growing population maintains the level of car ownership we have now, we will have millions more cars on the road and the total amount of emissions will still be high."

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