We know how to respond to climate disruption: stop using fossil fuels.
With few exceptions, I have not seen appeals to the public to reduce fossil fuel use from PT city councilors, county commissioners, PUD or Port commissioners, Hospital District commissioners or other elected officials. Why not? It feels like they are standing on the sidelines waiting to see how bad it will get. We elected and trust them. Now we need them to respond to this existential emergency.
Where to begin? The largest source of greenhouse gases in Jefferson County is private vehicles. Ninety-nine percent of the 39,000 registered vehicles in the county are powered by diesel and gasoline. Let’s set a goal of replacing 50% of these vehicles with electric vehicles within five years, which will reduce CO2 emissions by 90,000 metric tons annually.
To achieve this goal, we need to be motivated to leave a better world for our grandchildren. I can hear the arguments against EVs already. EVs are for rich people. Wrong. Low mileage used Leafs can be bought inexpensively. The batteries will die and I’ll be stuck with a big bill. Wrong. For each 10,000 miles driven, you’ll save more than $1000 on fuel and maintenance if you charge at home. After 60,000 miles, you’ll have saved more than enough to buy a new 40 kWh Leaf battery in the very unlikely event that it fails. Worried about range? Buy a used plug-in hybrid EV like I did.
I’ve driven 5000 miles in 18 months, used the gasoline engine when needed, and consumed only 21 gallons of gasoline.
Encouraging the public to change longstanding habits requires leaders and role models. You elected officials are a crucial resource for this task. Please step up and help create a success story in Jefferson County that will echo nationally.
(Editor’s note: This a rerun of Mr. Engel’s letter, which was published last week over the wrong name.)