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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

An Inconvenient Ruse

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I find it hard to believe that people actually are criticizing today’s “Live Earth” concerts and their goal of drawing worldwide attention to the issues of climate change and global warming.
The arguments from the detractors (read: people who don’t like Al Gore) are that it’s hypocritical for performers to urge energy conservation at concerts they reached via fuel-guzzling jets and gas-guzzling limousines; it’s hypocritical for fans at the concert sites to support the intent of "Live Earth" after driving to the stadiums in carbon-emitting cars; and it’s hypocritical of both the performers and the home viewers to get on the Gore bandwagon while using untold megawatts of electricity to present and watch today’s shows.
These arguments are short-sighted and miss the point.
“Live Earth” isn’t about conserving energy today. It’s about getting people to change their energy-consumption habits over the long term as a way to reduce carbon emissions and, consequently, slow the pace of global warming. If everyone who watches these concerts today heeds that message, the resulting energy conservation in the coming weeks, months and years will more than offset the amount of energy being used and the amount of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere by way of today’s events.
And even if you’re not in the Gore camp and you don’t believe human activity is to blame for global warming, what would be the harm in conserving energy? If nothing else, such simple practices as using energy-efficient light bulbs, reducing home electrical use and using your car less often will save you money. And I think we ALL can agree on the benefits of that.



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