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A Guaranteed Way To Cut Carbon Footprint

Let landlords lower the thermostat.

By Will Offensicht  |  December 27, 2007

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?