Turning up down the heat on climate change

In an effort to reduce my own carbon footprint, I topped off my home heating oil tank with 242 gallons of B30 biodiesel… back on October 1 of 2006. It had been about a year and a half between refills, and I can probably make it through most of this winter with what I have left in the tank.

As you can tell, I’m pretty stingy with the heat, but I don’t feel like I’ve sacrificed all that much comfort. It’s 55 degrees in my living room right now, but with a rugby shirt, a fleece pullover, and a flannel shirt on top, plus my signature fisherman gloves (fingertip free to allow me to type) I’m cozy enough. I turn the thermostat up to about 62 degrees when my daughter’s around, and she sleeps with one of those little oil-filled electric space heaters in her bedroom, but the furnace is off all night with nothing to keep me warm in bed on most nights than a thick down comforter and a dog. I sometimes heat the house back up to around 60 in the morning, but except during the occasional cold snap I keep the furnace off most of the day when I’m home alone.

No doubt my friends and family think I’m a little nuts, but I’ve grown accustomed to the cool temperature and the $3.40/gallon it saves me. And while I don’t really expect many others to go to such an extreme, my own example does illustrate how rather small lifestyle changes are much easier than people expect. Most Americans balk at the simple energy saving tip of turning the thermostat down to 68 degrees during the winter, but that’s only because they haven’t really tried tried acclimate. Put on a sweater and dial it down to 62 degrees for a few weeks, and 68 will feel like a fucking sauna. Really.

As the climate forecasts grow gloomier and the immensity of the impending catastrophe sinks in, there is a tendency for folk to simply give up in despair, but in fact there is something we can all do to at least mitigate the impact of climate change, if not prevent it altogether. We can substantially reduce our individual carbon emissions without spending much money or dramatically reducing our standard of living. And if we all reduce our own carbon emissions a little bit, we’ll reduce worldwide emissions a helluva lot.

Comments

  1. 1

    cmiklich spews:

    I’ll see if I can’t balance ya out by driving my big-block hotrod around (600+ hp) @ 10mpg and laying countless mega-carbon twin patches of blackness on the hydrocarbon-laden asphalt!

    Long live internal combustion!

  2. 3

    GlobalAlamist spews:

    Good for you on saving some money Goldie. For the rest of the world it looks like the flattening of temperatures since 1998 will provide the next global crisis – global cooling. (Again.)

  3. 4

    YLB spews:

    We never put our thermostat above 60. And the energy bills are still terrible.

    68? Indeed that’s a freaking sauna.

  4. 6

    NEAL spews:

    Goldy,

    That’s my family’s energy independence plan growing up: Put on a sweater.

    Worked well for me, works well for my kids.

  5. 7

    correctnotright spews:

    Hey goldy:
    You lose most of your heat from your head – especially with all that thinking going on. Wear a hat!

    I can’t wait for the global warming denialists to show up – They always amuse me with their “but a famous scientis says there is no….” crap. I can find a scientist at some school that will say msot anything – doesn’t make it true.

    The scientific consensus is clear – global warming is happening and it is caused by humans. These deniars only use science if it suits their point of view. My personal favorites are the fools who argue that it is colder somewhere or that there were less hurricanes in florida this year…they could just as well argue the earth is flat without looking at the entirety of the data and the big trends.

    They selectively pick a few pieces of data and say it proves their point. The same way the Bush administration cherry-picked data on Iraq or how they alter FDA, EPA or endangered species science to suit a political agenda.

    Not to mention the people at DI ((lack of) Discovery Institute) – they violate the true principles of science to try to support their narrow viewpoint.

    The lack of intellectual integrity bothers me the most.

  6. 8

    correctnotright spews:

    Important update:

    They found Dick Cheney’s heart!
    and it is irregular….

    actually, atrial fib doesn’t explain enough about how we got into Iraq…

  7. 9

    uptown spews:

    Man is that hardcore!

    I would be concerned about mildew/mold at those temps. Have you looked into zoning the heating sytem? Much easier to do nowadays, even forced air systems can be done.
    If you really want to make a difference: check out closed-loop geothermal heat pump systems, and/or solar if you have a great southern exposure.

  8. 11

    Delete Lee spews:

    “(M)y friends and family think I’m a little nuts …”

    A little?!

    Said it before: If you and Gore want to play your apocolypse games, then cut in my low-life friends on your action. Start with paying carbon credits to the tramps who were given gravel to sleep on, around the perimeter of the progressive U District Friends meeting house, until the progressive Friends evicted them back to the bricks.

    The carbon footprints of Gene the Packmule, of Rudy the Mayor of Volunteer Park, and of Josephine are no bigger than what they exhale. Rudy’s bauxite footprint’s pretty big, from his empty 40s, but nowhere near Gore’s lavish and profligate-mansion lifestyle, or yours. 55 degrees, this time of year, would be a tropical vacation for them, even without Rudy’s antifreeze.

  9. 12

    ewp spews:

    Be careful about keeping the temperature too cool in your home. Insuficient heat and air movement provides a nice environment for mold growth in our damp climate.

  10. 14

    Poster Child spews:

    correctnotright at 7,

    I’m afraid it really doesn’t matter whether the science-haters show up or not. As long as we allow assholes like cmiklich at 1 to do wha they want to do then we’re sunk.

    It’s too late.

    It’s great to be progressive and all (and this debate would scarcely be on the mainstream’s mind had the Dems not taken a majority last November); it’s great to use less and walk a little more softly, but human nature has doomed us – or at least our kid’s kids. Having been correct correct(but not right) about this is, I’m afraid, going to be very little solace.

    I’m not trying to blame anyone but ourselves, but it’s just a fact that in the time it took you to read my comment, all of your efforts (all the thermostat manipulation, biodiesel using, bike commuting, recycling, everything) and all of mine have been negated by a brand new coal-fired powerplant in China.

    All of it. Sorry.

  11. 15

    headless lucy spews:

    re 11: How does pointing out that people live in houses and drive cars to get from point A to point B make a convincing argument that global warming is not be taken seriously?

    You make this mock/rueful comment as if you are onto something that no one else is.

    How’s this for an observation: George W. Bush is a Christian and supposedly lives by the commandment: “Thou shalt not kill!” Yet,get this irony, he’s responsible for the pointless murder of hundreds of thousands of people.

    That’s a really big carbon footprint.

    Ya know, I have a beef with a system that puts a violent retard in charge of the country because of the social class he was born into.

  12. 16

    spews:

    ewp @12,

    I’m not so worried about mold and mildew. I live in an old house, so it’s not particularly airtight, and I had a new roof put on a few years back, so there aren’t any leaks. Besides, the odd thing about Seattle winters, is that while it rains constantly, the humidity is actually rather low. Weird.

  13. 17

    dollared spews:

    Ah, Goldy,

    Out there reinforcing prejudices about Jews and environmentalists, one at a time……

    posts like this make it real easy for the BIAW/SUV set to paint environmentalists as wackos.

    Thanks for doing your part to show that environmentalists don’t want everyone to make unreasonable and unpleasant sacrifices, they just want sensible, long term energy production, pricing and consumption policy.

  14. 18

    Violent Retard spews:

    Mr. Goldstein, a nice and tolerant man, is permissive of off-topic posts (e.g. #8, #10) on his threads. Lee, a crypto-commie neofascist, is not.

    Last week Lee did a thing about sleaze & sex (Republican homos and other sexuals), so I responded with almost apropos comments about sleaze and sex. In other words, comments about the Clintons.

    Lee whacked my commentary, but allowed Dad’s attempt at rebuttal to go through. Here’s my attempt to rebut the rebuttal. Let’s see if it lives or dies.

    - Not only right-wing wack-tards are concerned about Clinton zipper disease. The Atlantic article that Roger told us to read notes that the Obama campaign is asking why Big Media, BM, aren’t asking how Slick Willy’s little pink willy spends its time;

    - Hitchens, same issue, puts Clinton’s “lies about sex” in their proper context: they were lies about Clinton screwing his wife, daughter, friends, administration, and country;

    - Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick, unlike Paula, did not get their day in court. Was Willey assaulted by Willy? Was Juanita raped by Bill Clinton?

    - My equivocation about whether Kenny Boy Lay did or did not get a Clinton sleepover in the Lincoln Bedroom can be settled, one way or the other, when the Clintons loosen their grip on the Clinton President Papers they don’t want us to see. Or maybe Paul Krugman, an Enron pimp, knows for sure. Ask him;

    - After the 2000 election, Lay’s contributions to Republicans were more, but not much more, than his contributions to Dems. About 55%/45%;

    - Bigger than Bill Clinton’s abuse of power re sleaze and sex was Hillary’s abuse of power in pushing Janet Reno’s Dance Party into prime time. Reno was Hillary’s baby. Waco was their monument.

  15. 19

    YLB spews:

    18 – Violent to be sure – violently deranged – what do you know?

    Clinton Derangement Syndrome!

    Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick, unlike Paula, did not get their day in court

    Kenny Boy Starr let those two get away? Awwww… Maybe in the next life, wingnut.

  16. 21

    proud leftist spews:

    18
    Your obsession with Bill Clinton’s sex life is beyond pointless. I believe medications are available for someone as afflicted as you are. For all of our sakes but especially yours, please call your local psychiatrist. I’d be happy to help you locate one in your area if you are unable to do so yourself.

  17. 22

    Manic Obsession spews:

    Was reporting on the Obama campaign’s obsession with Bill Clinton’s obsession.

    George Stephanopoulos was clear, in his book about working with the Clintons, that psych help is desperately needed. By Clinton. The prick is sick.

  18. 23

    Harold spews:

    Amazingly retarded. We live in the day and age where it’s possible to be comfortable with even modest expenditures, and Goldy’s solution is to suffer in the cold, and justify it altruistically. Next he’ll go back to a covered wagon. This is the anti-human left at its worst.

    But hopefully there will be enough idiots like Goldy who like to sit there in the cold, so that it will be even cheaper for the rest of us who are not ashamed of human progress.

  19. 24

    headless lucy spews:

    re 23: I’m sure you are well insulated in your tin-foil hat and booties.

    FORWARD!!! Into the FUTURE!!!! Where the bearded clams can’t find us!!!

  20. 25

    Cruella Rodham Clinton spews:

    “The trouble for Hillary is that when it comes to sex rumors she and her husband (unlike, say, John Edwards and his wife) have no credibility. They threw that away when the philandering charges they righteously denounced in 1992 and 1998 turned out to be basically true.” (Kaus at Kausfiles, today. The sex rumors in question? Those about Hillary with Huma.)

  21. 26

    Ivar's Acres of Bearded Clams spews:

    Yes, Harold, let Mr. Goldstein have his harmless, sweetly pathetic enthusiasms. Note that he’s again sobbing softly about drowning polar bears.

    Heard on the news today that a hot item for Christmas gift giving is the Poo-lar Bear. Stroke its nose and a tasty sweet comes out its ass.

  22. 27

    correctnotright spews:

    Lets see:
    the republican trolls on this site are talking about clinton and sex and the thread is about global warming….hmmm, is this why they criticized Clinton when he tried to attack Bin Laden – and they said it was jusrt to distract us from Monica.

    It is clear who is obsessing here – and Mickey Kaus is not a real columnist – he is a gossip columnist parading as someone who actually does political analysis.

  23. 28

    Harold spews:

    Come to think of it, maybe there’s a link between being cold and being angry. Goldy seems to fill up his posts with anger and a lot of cussing. Maybe he should grant himself a few creature comforts basic necessities like heat, and then maybe he wouldn’t be such a negative ass.

    This probably a big factor in why he is divorced as well.

  24. 29

    spews:

    Harold @23,

    My point is, I’m not cold. I’m not uncomfortable. And I sure as hell don’t need to be hanging around in shorts and t-shirts in the mid of winter. I also specifically said that I don’t expect most people to turn the thermostat down as much as I have (and have been doing for the past six years,) just that it is really no sacrifice to turn it down a few degrees and pull on a sweater.

    I mean Jesus Christ… just because we’ve been doing something this way here in America for the past 50 years, doesn’t mean its a necessity or even an improvement to our quality of life. We are fucking up our planet and you’re ridiculing me for making a tiny lifestyle change. What a princess.

  25. 30

    Ann spews:

    any of you pinheads who think the sky is falling .. riddle me this.

    in Emilio Estevez’s weird movie called “Bobbie” there is actual film footage of Bobbie Kennedy telling little kids in NYC that “in ten years, we’ll all be wearing gas masks – the air will be THAT bad.”

    so, what happened? werent ‘scientists’ saying the same thing back then?

    if anything, our air is CLEANER now than it was back then and whoa! the ozone ‘hole’ all your monkey parents were screaming about?

    DIDNT HAPPEN.

    you guys are idiots. but thanks for leaving more gas and electricity for the rest of us! :-)

  26. 31

    Puddybud spews:

    Goldy: I see you must have taken those liberal arts courses from the Arts Quad so you missed the lessons on relative humidity.

    Why not google it and you’ll learn why it’s not too damp when the temp is lower!

  27. 33

    Puddybud spews:

    correctnotright says: Nothing of importance. The original worthless non-thread post was #10.

    Oops you missed that nugget. Navigate back to it. Hence the “willy” post complained about it so he said shucks let me try off-thread.

    I realize CNR, the idiot gene raised it’s head early this morning with you!

  28. 35

    Broadway Joe spews:

    I’d keep my heat down to about 60 or so, my wife actually likes it there (needless to say, she really enjoyed the Nevada summer), but with the grandbabies in the house, we have to make do with about 65. Still keeps our electric bill from Sierra Pacific down to about $120/month. But one question, Goldy: When you do fire up the furnace, does it smell like french fries?

  29. 36

    spews:

    Goldy…

    You need to change your name to Ebenezer. Your lifestyle is reminiscent of two of them who were crucial characters in a couple classics of 18th-Century English literature: the pre-ghost visit Ebenezer Scrooge of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and the miserly, skinflint, estate and title stealing Ebenezer Balfour of Robert Lewis Stevenson’s “Kidnapped.”

    Given that the two of them subsisted exclusively on gruel, I hate to think what your cubbards and fridge look like!

    You must not entertain much or have a sense of esthetics given the unfriendly description of your place! And that you still have an oil burning furnace (OK, so you use bio-diesel, but still!) says you’re so yesterday! What’s to prevent you from converting to cleaner burning natural gas or, as another poster suggested, getting a heat pump?

    I keep my thermostat down to save $$$. Sweaters and recycled pop bottle fleece garments work for me. And I’ve essentially sealed off the four bedrooms not currently in use plus my library (It’s just me, Kitty, and Fish in a 3,000 sqf house)in order to cut down the heat bill.

    While moderately adjusting my thermostat to save money is one thing, being scolded into it as a matter of policy is another. In the 70′s, Jimmy Carter tried that shtick telling everyone to turn down their thermostats, wear sweaters, and group hug because we were running out of energy.

    Oops! Was he wrong or what?

    I do it for my reasons, but I will never tell anyone else that they should. To many people, your lifestyle is downright uncomfortable and unhealthy, not to mention very tackily dressed. Home should be, if nothing else, your most comfortable environment; each to his own.

    As it was with Jimmy Carter, nobody likes a nag and a killjoy. Look what it got him!

    Hair-shirt martyrdom isn’t a persuasive argument. If anything, it backfires because scolds always appear unappealing.

    As for shorts and a t-shirt? My neighbor was born and raised in North Dakota, and even in 20 degree weather, he’s outside barefoot wearing not much more.

    The Piper

  30. 37

    spews:

    @10…Facts/Farts…

    I’m sorry, but a resurrection of the old Soviet Union doesn’t look to be in the cards. Though maybe if you support Putin, it might yet happen.

    The Piper

  31. 38

    Harold spews:

    Goldy,

    Your assumptions are all wrong. My point is that you don’t need to be cold. With good insulation on your house, decent modern heating equipment, etc. you can be warm, and save energy. Instead you opt to send a guilt-ridden message that implies that you are doing your part, when that’s not the answer. And what you want is for others to do their part, even though you then deny it and say that you don’t expect others to enjoy 55 degree air in their homes.

    And whether you are cold or not, it’s less comfortable to be in 55 degree air than it is to be in 70 degree air. Not to mention less functional to have to wear gloves.

    Then mental contortions you have to go through to justify this all to yourself. Lame really.

  32. 39

    busdrivermike spews:

    When the City of Seattle starts charging moorage fees for yachts according to their carbon footprint, and all the rich people stop taking private jets to wherever, whenever….When they tax people who drive gas guzzlers to work and back everyday, and people actually start yielding to buses, I will turn my thermostat DOWN to 63.

    Until then, I’m going to “sharrow” my lifestyle in comfort with my children, friendo.

    And.. how do you get back to the East Coast, goldy? Do you bicycle? Is every plane flight you take absolutely necessary?

    You know those big jet planes are not carbon neutral, right?
    Are you boycotting all products made in China and India? Like say all electronics? Because those countries have no environmental laws that are rigidly enforced, so you buying their products makes you part of the problem, not the solution. That Mercer Island house? How big is it? Couldn’t you downsize to a nice two bedroom townhouse with more energy efficiency?

    Glass houses, stones.

  33. 41

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    @30:

    Perhaps the words “Clean Air Act” ring a bell? It’s ok, that was passed on Nixon’s watch, so you can admit that you know what it is.

  34. 42

    Poster Child spews:

    Tlazolteotl at 41,
    you are absolutely right – right down the to the Nixon ref allowing the rightist idiots to acknowledge that it even happened.

  35. 43

    uptown spews:

    BTW, I use less power heating my much smaller apartment at 68 degrees than you’ll ever save keeping your thermostat at 55.