NASA scientist James Hansen is fond of saying that there are no silver bullet solutions to climate change, but rather silver buckshot — lots of little solutions that add up to the change necessary to avoid catastrophe.
California has explored this path, with a structured survey to examine what types of small policy changes undertaken now could qualify for silver buckshot awards. Put differently, regulators are exploring what changes should be made now so that the goals of California’s landmark AB32 bill are achievable.
The Air Resources Board, the group tasked with making sure you can actually breathe while ogling the California lifeguards, has published (pdf) a revised list of early-action measures showing no fewer than 60 potential little fixes that could help California meet its ambitious goal of reducing 2020 emissions to 1990 levels.
Nothings is too small for consideration. Consider the popular TerraPass conservation tip of inflating your tires. We all know that properly inflated tires can increase your gas mileage by about 3%. Soon, when you get your tune-up in California, someone will check your tires for you to make sure they are properly inflated. That simple check is predicted to shave 540,000 metric tons of CO2 in the first year of operation.
Simple, small and workable policy changes lead to noticeable progress at little or no cost. Wow. No magical ponies were harmed in this policy!
Also on the list are restrictions on high global warming potential consumer products like keyboard cleaners, tire inflation cans and, yes, silly string. Eliminating these little cans of climate destroying party fun will save 250,000 metric tons of CO2, about the same as 50,000 cars coming off the road.
That a seems like a pretty easy reduction at minimal cost, with the exception of a few dismayed 11-year-old boys.
Photo available from flickr user Michael (mx5tx) under a Creative Commons license.