Mona Charen

I was recently in the Frankfurt airport and noticed that the escalators have motion sensors, i.e., they run only when necessary. Eureka! Lights in stairwells and bathrooms in many other countries are set on timers. Apparently, keeping your car serviced and your tires properly inflated can save 3 to 6 percent on gas mileage. And driving at or under the speed limit while refraining from aggressive acceleration and braking saves even more.

Conservatives are right to stress the virtues of non-carbon-emitting nuclear power, and liberals have strenuously opposed it for reasons that are 90 percent emotional and 10 percent rational. But why should we scorn solar? It cannot replace oil and gas, that's clear. But particularly for the South and Southwest regions of the U.S. that are drenched in sunshine most of the year, solar makes excellent sense as a supplement to fossil fuels. Why not at least use it to heat water as many other countries do?

All of these energy-saving measures make sense even if you are unconvinced (as I am) that the world trembles on the brink of a human-caused climate catastrophe. Just to deprive OPEC of a few of our dollars would justify any number of conservation efforts -- to say nothing of drilling in the 1 percent of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that contains oil (perhaps, say some estimates, more than Prudhoe Bay). Those pictures we've all seen of moose and caribou against a backdrop of verdant mountains are a fraud. The coastal plain, where drilling is proposed, is flat, barren, and characterized by unforgiving permafrost.

Finally, Al Gore and Barbra Streisand could give up their private airplanes and fly first class, but one doesn't wish to overreach.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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