Trucks at Work

Practice what you preach

The title above -- "practice what you preach" -- is a saying as old as the history books ... actually, older than them, since the Roman comic actor Titus Marcinus Plautus reportedly first uttered those sage words around 200 B.C. or so. But they're taking on new meaning to my mind as the hoopla over "global warming" keeps on growing.

Let me state at the outset that I do believe climate change is occuring and that humankind is indeed adding to it, though not enough to cause the catstrophic scenarios being postulated all over the media these days. Ice ages and warming cycles occurred thousands of years ago on Earth without humanity's help, thank you very much, so it's not a surprise that climate change is happening again now.

What's upsetting is the lack of commitment by all the fomentors of the hoopla to actually doing something about it -- especially when it comes to our former vice president and Nobel Prize winner Albert Gore. Sure, his books, speeches, and award-winning film "An Inconvenient Truth" have raised the world's consciousness about global warming ... but he's not giving up private jet travel, nor his Tennesse mansion, nor eating beef, buying expensive virgin-material suits, driving a car, etc., etc., and countless other "etcs" thrown in for good measure.

In fact, actors at the Academy Awards ceremony in 2006 -- when Gore won an Oscar for his film -- loudly proclaimed the lavish energy-consuming event had "gone green" ... by buying offsets. Not by reducing the number of lights or cameras, reducing air conditioning use, or (heaven forbid!) eliminating the slow moving and high idle limo rides all those Hollywood elites get to attend the big show -- oh no! They shoved some money across a table so SOMEONE ELSE could reduce energy consumption on their behalf.

Funny thing about those offsets: Average Joe's and Jane's, like truckers, can't use them. Gotta buy a new emission-compliant truck or eventually face retrofitting your old one. And YOU don't get a tax break or any form of incentive to do that, either. The big stars still get to build and buy million-dollar estates, complete with energy-sucking hot tubs, gyms, game rooms, you name it ... without a tax on their lavish living. Isn't that what all the complaining about "global warming" is all about? That kind of "livin' large" culture? Then why aren't those folks getting a shake down in penalties and extra taxes for their energy profligate and pollution making ways?

I remember back in 2000 when President Bush took all kinds of heat by refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocols, a document countries like France, Germany, and Japan signed, agreeing to set reductions in certain global warming gases such as carbon dioxide. His contention then -- and one that rings true today -- is that folks like China and India were deliberately left off the list. They had to be given a chance to "catch up" in economic progress before such climate restrictions could be imposed on them. Not that such "catching up" might produce tons of pollution that more than offset any cuts made in the U.S. or Europe ... or maybe that would encourge companies to increase outsourcing manufacturing sites to places where compliance with such emission-reducing rules -- much less worker safety ones -- are limited or nonexistant.

Turns out that NONE of the countries that signed on to Kyoto are actually cutting their emissions anyway ... everyone is worried about what such cuts might do to their economies, such as increasing unemployment, raising the cost of living, etc.

The point is that if we REALLY want to combat so-called global warming -- which, more importantly, would mean reducing pollution AND energy use, thus reducing our reliance on the volatile Middle East's petroleum reserves -- we ALL have to do it. Can't cut emissions in the U.S. and let China keep pumping out unfiltered smoke by the ton. Can't force truckers to buy cleaner trucks while letting the upper 1% keep their private jets, limos, massive homes., etc.

(Truckers aren't buying those clearner trucks anyways -- Class 8 sales are down 50% so far this year, and Peterbilt Motors Co. expects industry-wide Class 8 sales will only reach 185,000 units this year; a far cry from the 325,000 bought by the trucking industry in 2006).

Be nice to see our former vice president step up and change his lifestyle: "walking the talk" as it were, setting an example for the rich and famous to follow. That might convince everyone else to do the same, if they see the leaders of the global warming movement put some of the practices they so eagerly espouse for everyone else in place for their own lives. But I won't hold my breath.