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Climate change? Blame your stuff

Burning gas is a big greenhouse gas culprit, but manufacturing things to buy is also a large source; Oregon wants to track it

Source:  Copyright 2008, Oregonian
Date:  August 1, 2008
Byline:  Scott Learn
Original URL: Status ONLINE

To cut energy use, save money and, while you're at it, live a greener life, you can turn down the air conditioning, back off the accelerator, hop on a bike.

But when it comes to your personal energy tally, there's another big but not as commonly considered source: The stuff you buy. Every product, from televisions to teapots, takes energy to get to the shopping bag -- energy to mine raw materials, make the product and ship it.

Yet that use goes unreported in Oregon's tracking of greenhouse gases and energy. And because Oregonians consume and throw away more stuff than ever, it amounts to a big blemish on the state's famously green complexion.

Come 2010, Oregon probably will declare victory on its goal of stabilizing global warming emissions -- even as worldwide emissions driven by the consumption of the state's residents and businesses actually go up.

"From the perspective of John Q. Public, who's ...

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