- This question was triggered by the Adam Ruins Electric Cars video where they argue the best thing you can do is to use your existing car as much as possible and then buy a cheap electric
- Can we think the same way about everything? What exactly happens to not just the money we spend on Teslas, but on anything at all?
- When I pay rent, I'm giving the landlord the money. Thus, even if I am careful about what I spend my other income on, if my main spending is on rent, what my landlord does also has a significant effect!
- Similarly, I can divide all the money I spend into two things: it went to some other person and they spend or save it, or it directly went into some activity that burns energy (food cooking, plane flying, plastic making, car forging, battery mining).
- As a simplification, every other person I gave money to, is also going to either spread it between these two activities. Or not spending it at all.
- Thus, in some way, whatever money we spend, in whichever fashion, will eventually become energy production: so what matters is how energy is produced by humanity in general.
- Thus, to truly make a dent in carbon footprint, we need to keep shifting the global average of how much energy is produced without CO2 production. And reduce things that are fundamentally non renewable, such as flying.
- An alternative is we all just spend less money. On everything. But this is not a good idea probably. The pandemic has shown that if everyone stays home and spends less money, the people who are really affected are the poor and working class, not the rich and privileged.
- Or if you don't worry about people, or take a libertarian view, the best thing you can do to the planet is sequester as much wealth away from circulation as possible. So in that way, the richest people who never spend their money are the greenest people there are!