Global warming considerations

Published 11:59 am Thursday, September 13, 2018


Paul Hoffman stirred up quite a discussion with “Musings of a climate change skeptic,” in The Farmville Herald. Aug. 16 edition with his description of climate change. There has, however, been very little discussion of what we should actually do about climate change. What should we be teaching our children? It so happens that there have recently been a number scientific papers that deal with this issue. These have not been mentioned yet. The paper at this website http://iopscience. meta lists the most frequently suggested things that we could consider doing but more importantly this paper evaluates how many tons of CO2 each of these items can remove per year assuming we all agreed to carry out these strategies. The authors here used the best possible analysis of the most common cures that we might consider.

The findings are surprising and not particularly pleasing. For example – upgrading light bulbs, hang drying your clothes, recycling, washing your clothes in cold water, eating a plant based diet, all produce only about 1 ton of CO2 reduction/per year. Switching from an electric car to car free, buying a more efficient car, buying green energy, avoiding one transatlantic flight all produce less than 2 tons of CO2 reduction/per year. Living entirely car free produces about 2.6 ton reduction … but having one less child reduces the CO2 production by 58.6 tons/year. So it is pretty obvious that controlling population is a major contributor to controlling our emissions of CO2. This paper has generated quite a bit of discussion. Many people have complained loudly that family planning is a fundamental right which, of course, it is but it appears that if we really want to limit our carbon emissions, we will need to consider it.

Email newsletter signup

I suppose I should provide a description (as did Hoffman) of my qualifications to present this work. I graduated from Longwood as a BS chemist. I then went to UVa and obtained a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. After this I went to the University of Illinois in Urbana as a postdoctoral fellow and studied mass spectrometry. I taught for a short period at Illinois and then I went to the Global research laboratories of the GE company in Schenectady New York. I worked there for about 33 years. The job involved problem-solving for everything from light bulbs to jet engines to plastics. As you can see I have a bit of experience with problem-solving. I have about 40 publications in peer reviewed journals and 13 U.S. patents issued. I think this paper should be considered when we discuss carbon emissions.

Woodfin V. Ligon