Climate Protection: More than enough hope about climate change

Nick Maxwell

I get this startling thing a lot: People tell me, “It’s wonderful to see how hopeful you are about people dealing with climate change.”  Imagine you were heading home from work and someone said, “It’s wonderful to see how hopeful you are that you will get home tonight.”  Yikes! It gets me every time.

I admit I am hopeful. The reasons for my hope are the plain facts about the disasters of climate change.

What is disastrous about climate change is the change. For example, 120 °F is not itself a disaster –120 °F has happened in Death Valley summers for years. A disaster is when things change and 120 °F comes to Seattle.  If Seattle always had summer temperatures over 120 °F, we would have accounted for that when we built the place.

Torrential spring runoff is not a disaster. Throughout the Southwest, there are rivers that are dry streambeds most of the year and become floods that would wash away a house in the spring. That is just normal, and we built for that.  What is a disaster is when things change and the Hudson River rises 20 feet and submerges riders in Manhattan subway tunnels. If the Hudson had always flooded 20 feet every year, we would have dealt with that when we built Manhattan.

The disasters of climate change are the changes: five more degrees in Mumbai; 10 more feet of storm surge in Florida or New Orleans; three more months of summer drought in Seattle.

The changes happen because global warming pollution is changing. From 1975 to 2000, the carbon dioxide content of the air rose from .033% to .037%. Carbon dioxide levels have risen every year since. Now 0.042% of the air is carbon dioxide. (That is 420 parts per million.) Over 80% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions are from burning fossil fuels. When people stop burning fossil fuels, carbon dioxide levels will pretty much stop rising. At that point, we will have pretty much stopped the change in climate change, and we get whatever climate we got to.

We can stop burning fossil fuels. A total of 25% of U.S. households burn no natural gas. In the U.S. in 2022, 6% of new cars were electric.  We do not need to burn natural gas to heat our homes. We do not need to burn gasoline to move our cars.

To stop burning fossil fuels, we replace all our fossil-fuel burning machines with electric machines. Saul Griffith, the founder of Rewiring America, points out that one way to do this is to buy only electric.  If we only buy electric machines from here on, fossil fuel burning will go away as our old cars and furnaces are replaced with electric options.

By the time we have replaced our own fossil-fuel burning machines, the electricity companies will have done the same. Most of Washington state’s electricity generation is already hydroelectric. Fossil-fuel power plants are going away elsewhere because they are the most expensive way to generate electricity. Wind and solar are the cheapest ways to generate electricity. When the remaining fossil-fuel power plants are replaced, they will be replaced by wind and solar.

Those are the facts behind why I know we will stop the climate change disasters.

An important remaining question is how fast will this all happen? If you are in a hurry — if you cannot tolerate the burning towns in California, the flooding deaths in Kentucky, the polar vortexes in Texas — if that is how you feel, you probably want to hurry up the transition to electric. Electrify your home and car now. And push your elected officials to hurry up too.

Either faster or slower, however it works out, there is no need to lose hope. This is not the end of the world. Literally, this is not the end of the world. You will get home safely tonight, and we all will fix the climate change problem.

— By Nick Maxwell

Nick Maxwell is a Climate Reality seminar leader in Edmonds, a Rewiring America local leader, and a climate protection educator at Climate Protection Northwest.

  1. I believe that moving to electric uses more of our natural resources to manufacture electric product. Most pushing for it are invested financially and therefore are not giving us good information. Nuclear energy is obviously the future. IMHO

    1. Steve,

      Nuclear – also – has some very strong downsides…

      The waste stays around for a very long time and becomes a much bigger target for those people wanting to cause havoc in a locality

      In addition to my comments published by Teresa are continued environmental problems caused by humans

  2. The climate change agenda is about giving power and control to a handful of elitists around the world that will control every aspect of our lives in we continue to allow the fear mongering of climate change to frighten us. One must look at the hypocrisy to see what this agenda is really about. People continue to push their agenda while flying around in their private jets and doing the opposite of what they want to impose on you. Remember, the last 3 years when it was do as I say not as I do. People are easily corralled and controlled by fear and unfortunately the elitists know and see this and use it whenever they can. The so called climate change people and environmentalists never tell you the downside and lasting repercussions their plan has but only the rosy picture they paint. We are being told about the great reset all the time but unfortunately many do not pay attention or believe it. When you are told that” you will have nothing and be happy” (Klaus Schwab, president of IMF) that should scare and alarm you. Don’t let fear rule your life.

    1. Linda,

      I’m not about to get into it about “the climate change agenda”

      It all depends on who you believe or not and what the story teller wants you to believe

      I will ask . . . WHEN has this country in particular and probably human history in general – NOT been based on the stories of “the elistists”???

      I would definitely include the founding – Fathers – as part of the group of elitists

      From my understanding/view of U.S. history, the closest we ever got – away from – control of “the elitists” was post WW II, in the 1960s. By the 1970s they were again moving to take back control

      I just read through much of “The World, A Family History of Humanity” (over 1200 pages) by Simon Sebag Montefiore, and it became pretty clear throughout human history, there has pretty much always been control by “the elitists”

      I’ve also come to the conclusion that in order to take and hold a strong position, one must become pretty much blind and deaf to any argument not supporting their own

      so – I agree with you, I never hear any of the down sides from “climate activists”

      Please see my comments published by Teresa

  3. Victor Eskenazi asked me to post this on his behalf as he was having technical issues:

    This reads as propaganda for someone connected with the new, “clean,green” technology

    Who are his financial backers/supporters?

    There is a whole lot not being said/written about the problems and pollution created by changing everything to electric

    I highly recommend the book “Bright Green Lies, How the Environmental Movement Lost Its Way and What We Can Do About ” –

    and/or you may visit Derrick Jensen’s wbsite –

    Copper is a key ingredient in the use of electronics, getting the material has it’s own hazards and creates much pollution

    I suggest “Boom, Bust, Boom, A Story About Copper, the Metal That Runs the World” by Carter, Bill,

    Those are merely places to begin – and of course, don’t forget “The Economy” – WHO is taking all the money off the suffering of others???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.

By commenting here you agree to abide by our Code of Conduct. Please read our code at the bottom of this page before commenting.