This week's letters respond to a question about whether Chester County should adopt a program to reduce greenhouse gases similar to one in Montgomery County called Greenprint or let free-market forces and entrepreneurs deal with the problem.
As it happens, Chester County last week appointed a task force to come up with proposals along the Montgomery County lines. An article about that appears elsewhere in this section.
I believe that following Montgomery County's lead with a Greenprint would make it easier for local townships to support renewable energy, land preservation, etc. If the county stands behind such action it would send a message to entrepreneurs, who are already in our area, that their products will succeed. It will also send a message to developers that they no longer have carte blanche
We need a massive effort to meet the challenge. We need inspired thinking and planning at every level: individual, family, township, county, state, national, and international to deal creatively and effectively with climate change. And while we are thinking about how to inspire and encourage everyone, let's also plan to help those who are most vulnerable to the increased cost of energy.
Climate change is the moral issue of the century. We need a new shared sense of purpose to replace the divisiveness of recent years. Radical free market fundamentalism is a failed idea. Good government is what we need.
Chester County needs to follow the lead of Montgomery County in attempting to reduce greenhouse gases by 51 percent by 2025. But it will take strong, courageous leadership from the commissioners and loud cries from all of us who believe that there is hope for changing the acceleration of global "weirding." It will take more than our cutting off our lights or buying Priuses.
We need major incentives to invest in green building and better mass transportation. (A bus line from Ludwig's Corner to a nearby train station would be a start there.)
There are plenty of people to advise the Commissioners on how to do this. The Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection is one group forming for that very purpose,
The commissioners, however, have no clout to enact laws to stop the pollution from the coal-powered plants or to offer money for solar roofs. Harrisburg does.
Public humiliation might work as well as "hero" labels for those who stand up to make change and who make their buildings and schools green or LEED-certified.
West Vincent has an incentive to reach its goal of 20 percent reduction by 2010. If 20 more residents sign on to spend $7.50 a month for PECO's wind energy, the township building will get a new solar roof.
Keeping these issues on the back pages of newspapers is not helping the colossally urgent need for Chester County to explode into the 21st century with strong initiatives to cut down its emissions. We must educate, agitate and get angry. Inaction is criminal and "green" ain't easy.
Letting "free market" take care of environmental problems is the very thing that has created most of our environmental dilemmas. Legislation is the only way to make any progress.
It is interesting that the ideologues who demand less government when it comes to protecting public health and the environment are the same ones that want to regulate your life in the privacy of your bedroom.
Our nation's environmental record dictates that free market doesn't work. Now we have no time left to dicker. We have to make drastic changes fast and only legislation can make people change their habits fast enough to make any difference.
I don't think county-level efforts will help. We need state and federal initiatives as soon as possible.
At last someone or some government body in Southeastern Pennsylvania is facing the greenhouse-gas issue. It is not a matter of can we afford to address what is upon us, but that we cannot afford to avoid it.
What is up for discussion is the how to; how much; who and by and when a Greenprint initiative is implemented. My own preference is a mix of incentives and free-market factors tied to a timetable with sanctions after a reasonable time period, much as the EPA has successfully done with chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).