Extreme and in some cases, tragic weather conditions over the holidays are sure to prompt more discussion about climate change. Sarah Lynn Cunningham, director of the Louisville Climate Action Network, says recent conditions do not fall into a normal climate pattern. She says any measures to reduce pollutants could carry long term weather impacts. “Greenhouse gases, once they’re in the atmosphere, are gonna warm the earth for a while, sometimes a long while,” Cunningham said. “But anything we do now is gonna be making things a whole lot less worse than they’re gonna be if we keep trying to do business as usual.”
Cunningham believes these types of weather related events will create a ‘tipping point’ in the debate sooner than later. She anticipates any sizeable policy changes will come from the federal government. She says wholesale exhaust restrictions are probably not feasible to lessen pollution and thus possibly impact climate change. “I think if we tried to institute a ‘one car-free day per week’, we would have political rebellion because in this country, we are socialized to believe that it’s appropriate and honorable to die for freedom," she said. "And in this country without private transportation, you don’t have freedom."
Cunningham says energy saving efforts could also help create jobs all across Kentucky. She says the use of more alternate transportation would help, particularly with an aging population.