Counting Carbon Calories

Now there’s an idea, from Amanda Little in the Times:

Americans use more oil than people in any other developed country, about twice as much per capita, on average, as Britons. Indeed, our appetite for petroleum, like our fondness of fast foods, has spawned a kind of obesity epidemic, but one without conspicuous symptoms like high blood pressure and diabetes. And because we don’t see how much energy goes into the products and services we purchase, we’re shielded from knowing the full extent of our personal energy demands — and unprepared when rising fuel prices increase the cost of everything else.

This illusion stems, in part, from a measurement problem: while we expect and understand labels on our food products that quantify caloric, fat and nutrient content, we have no clear way of measuring the amount of energy it takes to make our products and propel our daily activities.

There are lot of paths to using less, everything from profit incentives to utility companies to sell us less juice, to this one; we just need to start walking. Instead we can only call for more drilling or use congressional hearings to debate whether the planet is really warming.

They should have those hearings using only half the lights in the room – they’re already using only half (the) wits.