I see your electric car and lift you a bike »Albuquerque Journal

On “Switching to electric vehicles is the right road”, by Wilson Scanlan, Journal of July 21:

I fully agree with the points made by Scanlan, including his suggestions regarding our behavior in the context of thinking globally but acting locally. I offer another suggestion: how about using a real bicycle, with at least two wheels, that involves exercise, i.e. burning calories while being alert? But be careful; wear a helmet at all times; assume that drivers may not see you under certain circumstances; at dusk or in the evening, make sure you have working front and rear lights and use them; and lock your bike. Notably, Albuquerque is blessed with many excellent bicycle shops, although current global bicycle production, due to the pandemic, has plummeted. Despite the theft of a few of my two-wheeled friends over the years, since the fall of 1984, I have never purchased an annual parking permit for the UNM.

In his introduction, Scanlan notes that “state-wide emissions (of carbon-based molecules) have exploded with a 50% increase since 2005.” Let’s put this fact into a global context. At the time of this writing, Earth’s atmosphere contains over 420 parts per million of carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 concentration has been steadily increasing from a background value of around 280 ppm since the mid-1800s – for example co2levels.org. The rate of increase in CO2 has increased, hence an acceleration, almost every year. A similar increase in methane (CH4) has taken place. For the past approx. 1.5 million years ago, CO2 levels fluctuated, with considerable cyclicity, between about 190 and 290 ppm and for millions of years before there had been a general decline of about 350 ppm as the Earth, our home, was entering an ice age. Over the past two centuries, we have grown from a population of around 1 billion to more than 7.8 billion today. During the same period, energy consumption, largely coming from carbon-based fossil resources, increased by more than 80 times. In 2014, the rate of carbon emissions emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere was about 10 carbon pentagrams per year and this rate, overall, has not decreased. Notably, several relatively recent geoscientific studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals have shown that this contemporary rate of carbon emission is about an order of magnitude 10 times greater than at any other time during the last 66 million years of the history of the Earth, during and after the dinosaurs. and many other species have disappeared.

Globally, we are seeing the effects of this very rapid rate of Earth system disturbance. All the more reason for all of us to follow Scanlan’s wise and timely suggestions.

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