Anyone who understands the science of climate change should agree with high school student Joshua Wing’s sense of urgency about dealing with that crisis after this pandemic (“Climate lessons from the pandemic,” in the July 22 edition of the Daily Journal).
However, I disagree with the idea that a slower economy and a loss of personal comforts are the likely costs of addressing climate change. Indeed, if we manage things properly, our economy should be more vibrant and our communities more comfortable, safe and convenient than ever before.
A carbon-neutral Peninsula will look a lot different than it does today. Rather than organizing their lives around traffic on 101, most commuters will take mass transit to work. Since the next electrified train or bus is only 5 or 10 minutes away, they won’t need to particularly worry about the timing and dedicated bus lanes and automated signal priority will mean their commute time is in most cases shorter than it is was in prepandemic times. Cooking will be easier on induction cooktops that boil water faster than today’s gas ranges, and automated heat pumps will keep homes the ideal temperature for less cost, regardless of the weather. Wider sidewalks and plentiful dedicated bike lanes will mean it is safer for children and seniors to be outside the home and physically active and local businesses will thrive with the massive increase in foot traffic.
This will be a different world, for sure, but it’s a better one. The only sacrifice will be our attachment to the past.