Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cap and Trade: Bring It On!

Apparently one proposal for reducing carbon emissions is known as "cap and trade," a concept that, I gather, involves charging companies (for example) for emitting carbon but allows companies to trade "units" of carbon they have been allotted.

Another proposal, already enacted, involves giving people $4500 for so-called clunker automobiles if they spend the $4500 on a car that emits less carbon.

These policies converge directly on my 1969 Ford F-100 pickup (step-side style, short bed).

I'm ready.

My secret weapon is the odometer, which I, which no one, has turned back, in case you're wondering. The total miles on the odometer is now 52,480. Divide that number by 40 (years), and you get the resulting miles driven per year and carbon emitted per year. Not many miles, not much carbon.

My late father drove the pickup until 1997, so almost all the credit for low carbon emissions and minimalist driving must go to him. Most of the miles he put on the truck involved going to and from work as a carpenter and stone mason; going "to town" to pick up the mail and some groceries; going hunting, which essentially involved driving straight up into the mountains (much elevation, few miles); and going in search of gold.

However, at the insistence of the Ford F-100, I have maintained the minimalist philosophy. If you would emit less carbon, suggests the Ford, drive less. I know: it is a complex theory.

To echo lines from Treasure of the Sierra Madre, I don't need no stinking $4500 dollars for my "clunker" (a term the Ford and I find offensive, incidentally), and bring the cap-and-trade on, baby. I will amass units of carbon that I will sell to, well, I don't know to whom--Du Pont? California? NASCAR?

When I do occasionally drive the Ford into my favorite working-class shopping area in Tacoma, the Ford gets a lot of approving glances--from persons of all generations and from both genders, believe it or not. The truck is certifiably funky. It is an automotive poem.
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