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Rethinking Climate Crisis Responsibilities For All

By Robert Clampett

At first blink, the global climate change crisis was seen as the responsibility of governments and dirty industries to muster action to fix it. After all, they were the cause of it all, right?

Well, maybe not entirely. A recent study by Princeton University has shifted the blame and the solutions to individuals, all of us, along with the offending corporations and governments.

Thanks to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, which grants huge incentives for individuals to buy electric automobiles while shifting their households to clean fuel sources off of fossil fuel sources, ordinary citizens can be a major contributor to cutting down their nation’s carbon emissions.

While it is still true that most greenhouse gas emissions were caused by companies like Chevron, BP and Exxon, along with coal-burning power plants, a deeper look reveals the positive impacts that can be taken by individuals throughout the land.

The Princeton study shows that by switching to electric vehicles and transforming household heating and appliances off of fossil fuel sources could impact a carbon emission drop of up to 30 per cent within ten years. Upon reflection, the numbers are staggering.

The study shows that Americans drive approximately 104 million privately owned automobiles, with just 1.7 million of them powered by electricity. Add to that the fact that 56 million households with gas furnaces,10million oil or propane burning furnaces,58million gas water heaters plus 35 million gas stoves and one can see the collective impact of overall pollution.

“Many houses are like mini-fossil fuel power plants,” said University of California at Santa Barbara political science professor Leah Stokes, adding, “They have a gas furnace, a gas water heater, a gas stove. And then out front, the power plant has a gas-powered car. All of these things are fossil fuel machines. And we have power over them as individuals and households”.

She cites the incentives of the Inflation Reduction Act as a vital tool in combatting the climate crisis, providing help for households moving off of oil and gas fueled machines with $7.5 billion in electric vehicle tax credits and $24 billion in credits to electrify homes. With such incentives, it is hoped that collective action will lead to a significant reduction in the amount of carbon dioxide being spewed into the atmosphere by ordinary homeowners.

We all should do our part. And now, we can.