Wednesday, September 20, 2006

By using less water, valley residents can cut greenhouse gases

San Jose Mercury News
By Larry Wilson

Allan Zaremberg argues that passage of Assembly Bill 32 to limit carbon dioxide emissions -- a significant contributor to global climate change -- would hurt California's economic growth (``Bill limiting greenhouse gases could hurt California and climate,'' Aug. 9).

How much growth does Zaremberg, CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce, foresee if today's scarce water resources are dwindled to a shallow pool?

Climatologists and other scientists are confident that continuing changes in the climate pose significant threats to the water resources of the West Coast. They tell us we'll see less snowfall and earlier melts, jeopardizing a key source of water for Santa Clara County and the rest of the Bay Area. Runoff disappearing earlier in the years will probably spawn more droughts.

Worse, many specifics of these scenarios will depend on what we still do not fully understand.

As the picture comes more into focus, it is clear we need sound legislation -- such as AB 32 -- from our political leaders, ``cleaner, greener and leaner'' operations by all of California's water agencies, and cooperation from all of its residents.

What can residents do? Use less water. Here's why:
• Generating power -- whether it's for your car or to generate electricity -- produces carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
• Greenhouse gases are largely responsible for raising the Earth's temperature, which is warming the planet, melting glaciers, causing sea levels to rise and changing weather patterns that regulate the timing and quantity of rain and snow that fall on the state.
• Pumping water from its source to urban areas, treating it, using it and treating it again after it's been used constitutes the single largest use of energy in California. Moving, treating, consuming and heating water accounts for 19 percent of the state's electricity and 30 percent of its natural gas, according to a November 2005 California Energy Commission study.
• Using less water reduces the need for energy, which reduces carbon dioxide emissions, which slows down global warming. More...

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