A Guaranteed Way To Cut Carbon Footprint

Let landlords lower the thermostat.

The Bali conference on global warming produced enough hot air to raise sea levels at least an inch.  Much of the rhetoric chided the United States for having factories and automobiles with bad breath, even though we're not the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases any more.

Some proposals are so ineffective compared to their cost that politicians are beginning to push back.  It's no surprising that politicians are beginning to realize that the "earth saving" measures so beloved of the green movement will cost too much. The surprise is that it took them so long.

It's disappointing, but not surprising, that there's a simple way to reduce global warming that would work like a charm, absolutely guaranteed, but nobody mentioned it.

Here it is:

Most cities and towns in the snow belt have laws requiring that landlords keep apartments considerably warmer than necessary to sustain life.  For example, the Town of Hamilton's law says:

(a) "adequate and suitable heat" means the maintenance of an air temperature of at least twenty degrees Celsius (20°C) in all habitable spaces, by a safe, operable and permanent heating appliance capable of maintaining that temperature;

20 Celsius is 68 degrees Fahrenheit.  Keeping millions of apartments that warm takes millions of gallons of heating oil and generates tons of carbon dioxide, one of the worst greenhouse gases there is.

Proposals to cut greenhouse gases by such devices as taxes or forcing auto makers to build cars that get more miles per gallon suffer from people not wanting to do what the law requires.  That's why the current proposals cause such fights and will take years to have any effect.

If, however, the law were changed to permit landlords to reduce apartment temperatures to, say 62 degrees, or maybe 60, how long do you think it would take for all the landlords to do the right thing for the planet, turn down their thermostats, and cut carbon footprint?  If the tenants are uncomfortable, they can express their outrage the same economic way everyone else can - move somewhere else.  Perhaps, a few hundred miles further south.

How come all the environmentalists keep proposing things people don't want to do instead of suggesting something that people would want to do?

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Environment.
Reader Comments

This is interesting - it would even work: The largest cities seem to be in the 'snow belt' around the world and even without doing the math it is a convincing idea.

On the other hand as global temperatures rise (as no doubt it will) the natural 'adequate and suitable temperature' will move the snow belt  north (and south) and relieve all those overexerted appliances. Of course then we must deal with the air conditioners so it wouldn't be a bad idea to do away with all those laws altogether.

By the way... 'chode'? Isn't it 'chided' (or even 'chid')

December 27, 2007 5:55 PM

Thanks for the notice.  The word has been changed to 'chided'.

('Chode' is actually a word, but definitely not the one we want.  www.google.com/search)

December 27, 2007 6:10 PM

'Chode' correct according to the original context that the author used it in.

Several dictionaries list is as the past tense of 'chide'.



It was also used in old english references.

The Bible uses it twice: en.wiktionary.org/.../chode

December 27, 2007 6:29 PM

I live in a northern community that is affected by such rulings.

If my landlord lowered the central heat restriction, I would simply plug in a bunch of space heaters to keep the heat up higher.  Space heaters are much less efficient.  They use a -lot- more electricity and put out a -lot- more carbon into the air.  Your plan would hurt the environment far more.   And (oh by the way) my landlord pays the electrictiy bill - that is standard in most apartment buildings.

People aren't going to live at 60 degrees; that is extremely uncomfortable.  And they aren't going to walk around, bundled up in sweaters like polar bears either.  They'll simply use a different source of heat which will be more taxing on the environment and the owners' wallets.

December 27, 2007 8:20 PM

In effect, the author is saying that global warming is the fault of poor people because they have to rely on cheaper (and therefore less efficient) processes to stay warm, feed themselves, etc.

Being efficient and earth friendly is something only rich folk can do.  Every priced out a set of solar panels?

December 27, 2007 9:09 PM

Sixty degrees uncomfortable?  The key is ACCLIMATIZATION.  For us northern folk in NH, 50 Fahrenheit in March is incredibly warm.  Why?  We're used to the cold winter temps!  Wear layered clothing, don't dress like the brothel society we are, and SMILE.  While exceptions may be made for older folk, sixty degrees in more comfortable than $3.40 a gallon!

December 27, 2007 10:06 PM

Joshua has made my point.  It's about the comfort of the individual, not the landlord.  If you are comfortable in a house that is below 60, fine.  But most people are not, and they will act accordingly.  If you enjoy temperatures below 60, you are free to turn down your thermostat and live as you please.  For those of us that want it warmer, we will turn the thermostat up to 65 or 70 or even 75.  That is our choice and it is every bit as legitemate and good a choice as yours.

American do not (and should not) deprive themselves of comfort because a bunch of enviro-maniacal elites  want to impose their will on everyone else.

December 28, 2007 7:39 AM

does heat release more carbon than cool?  a/c units also deal in heat.  they remove heat from the hair.  a good chunk of u.s. homes are heated and cooled with the exact same thing: an electric or gas heat pump.  so what about all those people in florida using their heat pumps to cool?

December 28, 2007 7:23 PM
I've got a setback thermostat - the warmest my house gets in the winter is 62F shortly before the alarm rings. It stays there about an hour for the morning routine, then drops back to 60 throughout the day. Overnight, the indoor temperatures are allowed to dip to 50, but rarely drop that low.

If, for some reason I have to be up and working, a small space heater keeps my workspace comfortable for a couple hours - much more economical to heat my desk area with electric than the entire house with gas.

Here's a tip: buy several sets of long-johns, and wear them 24/7 from November to March. Thermal underwear under your regular clothes keeps you comfortable in temps 10 to 15 degrees cooler.

If clothed reasonably, the average adult can easily tolerate 60 degrees, and, after becoming acclimated, 50 seems "a little cool"

January 1, 2008 4:32 PM
It's not that I don't think I can acclimatize myself to colder temperatures. It's that I DON'T WANT TO. I ENJOY sitting in my house in the winter in shorts and a t-shirt with the thermostat set at 75. My heating bill is higher than yours, but so what? That is my choice just as it is my choice to buy more expensive meat from the deli or a nicer car. Who are you to demand that I walk around my house bundled in clothing all winter just to save some money?? Screw you! Keep your hands off my thermostat! I don't tell you what to do. I could just easily point out that by wearing extra layers of clothing all winter, you have twice the laundry bill. I don't care what you do.
January 2, 2008 8:37 AM
Ben is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, the WHOLE POINT of the global warming scam is so that people like Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and other statists can get more power and more control. If you read my comment on


you'll find that carbon emissions will NOT continue to increase warming, there is a limit th the amount of heat CO2 can trap no matter how much we put in the atmosphere. All this talk of limiting carbon is a LIE so they can write more rules, get a bigger budget, and get more power.

Hillary wants to have the government take over health care, for example. Government-run schools can't even teach kids to read, what makes you think government can manage the climate or manage health care? But the bureaucracy would SURE like to try.

And when they do, they'll tell everybody to cut fuel use in half regardless of whether they've already economized. People who're already wearing long underwear will freeze in the dark....
January 2, 2008 12:07 PM
ben and Nathan make a major point, and that's the government shouldn't tell us how to run our lives. However, ben has an "I-problem" that is characteristic of our nation. Instead of sacrifice, we're worried about me, myself, and I. You step on my toes, make me feel guilty, and here comes an s-bomb or a f-bomb. The sad fact is, we ALL pay a little extra because of Hummers and people who wear spaghetti strap tank tops in the dead of winter. Our nation sacrificed and conserved to help beat Germany and Japan in the 40s. It is sad that we don't have the same will today to discomfit the sheiks, Chavezes and Putins of the world. That said, count me in with ben and Nathan.......no government thermostat regulators!!!!
January 5, 2008 10:15 PM
What you say, Mr Offensicht, is a little disingenuous to me. The idea that somehow if we turn the heating down by two degrees in the northern states of the USA this is the magic bullet that will cure all the problems with regards to carbon emissions worldwide doesn't quite ring true. At best it is naive.

I also think that to accuse 'environmentalists' as continually proposing 'things that people don't want' is a little slanderous too. I think you'd be hard pushed to find many people who didn't consider it a good thing that we live in a sustainable way.

Currently, we live far from sustainably. Putting all the arguements of global warming aside, you must still accept that sooner or later we will have to ween ourselves off of oil, gas and coal etc and onto a more sustainable source of energy.

Although potential impacts of emissions on the environment are concerning to me, I believe that a lack of energy security is a far more pressing matter. If we don't want to be at the mercy of Russia for gas, the Middle East for oil and China for coal, then we'd better do something fast. You complain now, but I suspect you'd be even more complaining when your fuel prices sky-rocket (and eventually you have blackouts because Russia switch off the gas - ask the Ukrainians about this one).

Leonard.com - you say that 'being efficient and earth friendly is something only rich folk can do'. There are so many simple and cheap things people can do to reduce their own energy needs. Surely it is 'the poor' who would benefit most from using a few more energy efficient light bulbs (about 50cents each) or a insulating jacket for their water tanks (under $30). We can all do our bit and be less wasteful - unless of course you are an advocate of wastefulness?

Nathan Smythe - you say that 'the global warming scam' has been created in order for those in power to gain more control over us. Let me ask you this question - who has more control over American Politics, Greenpeace or the Big Oil companies?... Need I say more.

Incidentally, I'd be interested to know whether any of you have a background in the energy industry? As it happens I work for a Gas and Electricity production and supply company in the UK, so unfortunately you will not be able to dismiss me as a member of the 'enviro-maniacal elite' (see Ben's comment). My company, which is publicly listed, is currently investing £750million into renewable generation such as windfarms (onshore and offshore). It does this because it makes mid to long term economic sense. Remember that being a listed company it always has the wallet of its shareholders at heart, so you can't really say that it is uneconomical to pursue sustainablility. Btw, my company is also the largest supplier of home services products in the UK, including loft and cavity wall insulation and boiler efficiency services. It also made a £1.4billion profit last year.
February 3, 2008 8:29 AM
Face1352, I'm glad your company is investing £750 million into renewable resources. That's the way it should be!

The general public shouldn't taxed on something that may not be a result of man. If people feel the need to invest their money into what they think will eliminate global warming, then let them. Other people who don't see the need to pay extra money for a unnecessiary scare shouldn't have to. Until further research concludes that the big thing that heats up our planet isn't the cause or it's not natural causes, like the direction of currents in the artic oceans naturally reversing and bringing warm water into the artic melting the ice, giving a false illusion of global warming, shown by NASA, then I'm not spending money I don't have.
February 4, 2008 8:55 AM
Mr. Obama is saying that it ought to be against the law to drive SUVs or to heat our houses too much:


The global warming scam is all about power.
May 21, 2008 9:44 AM
Looks like the U.N. agrees with Scragged:

August 5, 2008 11:54 AM
I have an even better idea than turning down the heat - since we all emit 1/2 ton of CO2 per year, if we simply 'forgew' (hey, you used 'chode, right?) every SECOND breath, we would reduce CO2 by about 1.5 BILLION tons a year!!

I'm sure we could all slow down our consumption of oxygen this way - the fate of our planet is at stake, after all!!

Since we'd all be sitting around trying to conserve energy (jogging would, of course, have to be outlawed!), we could pass the time by having a giant BBQ with India's 300 million sacred cows!

Those two initiatives should easily account for 50% of the reduction required - and if Michael Moore and Al Gore stuck their heads up each other's asses, that should deal with the rest!

Problem solved!
January 20, 2010 11:13 PM
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