Apparently due to the holidays, the deadline for getting $500,000 pledged to Delta Airlines tickets was extended from Friday to this Wednesday. According to this article in the Eureka Reporter, RREDC is very close with $479,000 pledged. That’s pretty astounding in such a short time.

We don’t do much flying, at least not on purpose. So, I couldn’t see pledging even the minimum $2,000 for our company. But apparently there are plenty of businesses that do fly enough to make this plan appealing. And the prospect 0f Delta opening another flight route to Salt Lake City encouraging even more flying seems to have upset some people.

The only place I’ve actually seen this opposition was on the Redwood Technology Consortium’s mailing list (this links to the December archive by subject, you can join the list here). A lot of time was spent over a couple days last week arguing over the degradation of our environment caused by airline travel. Before the argument devolved into grandstanding and name calling (at which point I called a halt to the whole thing), the discussion did raise an interesting larger question. On one side were a couple people who insisted that the only way to save the planet is through personal commitment to stringently reducing our carbon footprint and further, imposing that stringency on everyone through government policy. On the other side was the opinion that such interventions are unnecessary since the market, if left alone, will produce sufficient technological innovations to solve all the global warming and energy problems we now face.

This is an age-old battle that will never be won by either side simply because there has never been a way of testing either theory. Progress has always been the result of a mixture of personal change, government intervention and market forces. In the case of global warming and the energy crisis (I see them inextricably joined) personal commitments will help find new paths and create new markets; governmental leadership will be needed to encourage change and innovation, and the ever pressing need will certainly drive businesses to create new products and services.

The real questions with global warming/energy are: Even with all these forces marshaled to solve the problem, will the effort be too little too late? Can we change fast enough to fend off the worst effects?