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On the attack: Readers press for a resolution to the climate change debate

Politicians mixed up on climate

I ADMIRE PUBLIC servants and am loath to criticize. But the N.M. Democratic congressional delegation’s climate initiative comments reported in “Plan divides N.M. delegation,” June 26, Albuquerque Journal, beg for righting. Fact-based analyses referencing real experts expose their views as sophomoric.

U.S. Sen. (Martin) Heinrich declares climate science settled, and says lack of stone didn’t end the Stone Age, implying a better replacement. Stone is viable today on granite countertops, the halls of Congress, and as aggregate in most every building. The Stone Age transitioned, but stone is still crucial to our way of life. Politicians’ ignorance of atmospheric sciences will not end the Fossil Fuel Age, and fossil fuels remain crucial to our way of life.

The International Panel on Climate Change assesses a 10 percent probability than none – none! – of the past 50 years’ slight warming is human caused. Volcanic activity, including geysers, may emit 10 times more CO2 than human activity per annum, without even counting exceptional eruptions like Pinatubo in 1991. But I’m sure a carbon tax can stifle the next volcano.

U.S. Sen. (Tom) Udall reasons that climate change is real and Congress should address it. Yes, the climate changes. Sometimes it gets colder. From 1998 to 2008, 1998 was the warmest year and 2008 the coldest. But the global warming religion always has an answer. You see, global warming causes warming and cooling! Now, one has to be a real disciple to swallow some of the religion’s doctrines, but better to be faithful than factful.

U.S. Rep. (BenRay) Luján suggests climate change contributes to freak weather phenomenon. But facts show no evidence of a U.S. hurricane increase in number or intensity since 1900. Damaging tornadoes have decreased since 1950.

U.S. Rep. (Michelle) Lujan Grisham thinks it will be a shame if we don’t protect future generations; nearly echoing a principle (Democratic) talking point, “It’s for the children!”

Dirtier air is the only thing sure about the war on coal. It pushes plants to India and China where regulation is nil and pollution reigns. The U.S. hasn’t had a new coal plant in years; China and India build four per week. Where will they get the coal? U.S. coal exports in March 2013 were the highest in history.

GEORGE WRIGHT

Corrales

Warming consequences scary

UNFORTUNATELY, MANY people have not paid attention to the announcements by almost all of the world’s science academies that this thing called global warming is not only happening, but that it has been well correlated with the rising amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

We know that as a consequence of the rising atmospheric temperature, and the rising sea surface temperature, icebergs are melting and calving into the surrounding ocean. We know that for this same reason glaciers are melting, and of course this results in more water flowing out to the sea.

The global sea level is rising due to these effects, and this will eventually constitute a threat to many coastal regions around the world, displacing millions of people.

We are now becoming aware that droughts are worse and more frequent in some places than they have ever been, and that precipitation is now heavier in some locations causing floods that used to happen very infrequently. These patterns are referred to as human-fingerprints by climatologists, when the patterns being predicted require climate models that include input data on greenhouse gas concentrations, and human-caused aerosols, and whose outputs like precipitation, or global average surface warming, correlate well to the measured precipitation or surface temperatures available.

Once CO2 is in the atmosphere, it stays there for a long time – approximately 100 years. So the problem is profound and disturbing, especially for our grandchildren. Even if we cut back on our emissions of greenhouse gases today, that will not remove (those) that are already there.

And furthermore, there is an effect called feedback. The climate feedback effect can cause the Earth’s climate to reach a tipping point where the dynamics of the system take over, and it develops more rapidly with no human control. An excellent discussion is given of this in James Hansen’s book, titled “Storms of my Grandchildren.”

R. BENTON HOWELL

Organizing for Action Climate Change Team

Bernalillo

Is Obama putting legacy first?

PERHAPS PRESIDENT Obama was afraid, like so many, especially politicians, to talk about the real climate “killer” – population.

It’s so easy to look for easy answers, and to say “let’s stop using coal as a producer of energy.” It was an easy choice. Easy because there are substitutes for coal to produce the amount of energy needed to keep things going. Even technical lightweights like U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich – who holds a degree in mechanical engineering, yet never used his degree in an engineering field – was quick to support the president with drivel.

Yes, natural gas in an option, yet so are so many other types of energy producers like the favorites of the most “greenies” solar and wind. And one has to wonder why coal can’t be made to burn “clean.” Some efforts have been made to do this with “scrubbers,” yet not to the extent needed to really clean the air, if that’s possible. So where are the “brains” to do this. Oh it would be expensive. Of course, nothing to replace coal, or even clean up coal would be cheap. I don’t think Heinrich or any of the other members of my party(Democrats) realized the enormous cost to either revamp the plants to change from coal to something else. … And who is to say that natural gas, or other substitutes, won’t produce pollutants? There’s a lot of talk about biofuels, yet those ideas have yet to produce the amount of energy to replace coal, which is pretty cheap in the short run.

Then there are other questions about jobs. Where are the technicians and laborers who will be involved in the conversion from coal to something else? One needs to ask a lot of questions, which makes me wonder if those involved in advising the president asked the question I’m posing here. …

Back to population. The esteemed scientist Edwin O. Wilson, a prize winning Harvard biologist, said in his wonderful book, “Letters to a Young Scientist,”that he has noted that demographers have said planet Earth can only sustain 10 billion people, and we are already at 7 billion and counting.

So I hope that the president will stop worrying about what his legacy will be in history, and that he and others, like our junior senator, will remember the old adage: “Engage brain before opening mouth.” …

R.D.B.(BEN) LAIME

Albuquerque

Climate changes both ways

POLITICIANS AND government bureaucrats are continuing their relentless assault on clean, clear and highly beneficial carbon dioxide. The Obama administration has announced, coincidentally during the hottest week of the year, a new climate plan that will adversely impact electric power plants that use economical fossil fuels.

The president will order the Environmental Protection Agency to “expeditiously” set limits on carbon dioxide emissions for new and existing power plants. The regulations will cause higher electric power rates for individuals and businesses.

… For decades weather and climate have been convenient cannon fodder for politicians. During the days of atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons it was widely reported, and believed, that hot weather was being caused by the “atom bomb.” A decade later global cooling was declared a grave risk and was blamed on nitrous oxides. Subsequently global warming was proclaimed to be the problem.

Further analyses along with the revelation that data had been deliberately falsified exposed the global warming crusade as a lot of hot air. Embarrassed global warming enthusiasts quickly renamed their cause climate change, which has the virtue of ambiguity. But … the primary concern still seems to be global warming. Global warming raises sea levels; conversely global cooling lowers sea levels.

Currently a vast – or perhaps a half-vast – array of government-funded research grants are attempting to estimate the probability of a sea level rise on the order of one or two feet. Consider that 20,000 years ago – a blink in geologic time – global sea levels were as much as 400 feet lower than today. Britain was part of continental Europe and the North Sea did not exist.

Calculating a sea level change of one or two feet and attributing that change to a specific influence, such as carbon dioxide from power plants, while natural phenomena produce 400-foot variations is not science, it is science fiction. …

Even more pertinent, but often ignored, is the fact that many more people die when it is colder than when it is warmer. …For humans, and the majority of earth’s other species, a warmer planet is more user friendly than a colder planet.

There are more than enough genuine global problems on which to spend our resources including poverty, hunger, disease, poor education and insufficient potable water. It is an atrocity to waste resources on a hypothetical cause such as attempting to control the climate. Worse still, the cost of energy is being driven needlessly higher, which hurts individuals and businesses. Sadly it is the poor who are being hurt the most.

JOHN J. SCHINKLE

Los Lunas

Climate will harm our economy

BECAUSE OUR political and business leaders have not taken action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions New Mexico’s climate is drastically changing. Climate models from 10 years ago indicated that we will experience warmer average temperatures combined with extremely hot and cold periods. There will be more intense storm events and flash floods in the summer and less snow in the winter. We are seeing these trends unfold and we will see them get worse.

New Mexico citizens need to demand more from their political and business leaders. The recent economic slowdown will pale in comparison to the economic disaster we will experience with continued climate disruption. Everything is at risk if we do nothing!

DR. ROBERT BEHRENDT

Albuquerque

CO2 plan stimulates economy

DR. JAMES HANSEN, former NASA head and world-renown climatologist, has developed a plan to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions In addition, it would stimulate our economy by expediting alternative energy development. Here is a summary:

1. Initiate a simple, honest carbon fee – no cap-and-trade foolishness – at domestic mines and ports of entry. This fee would rise gradually over the years so businesses will have dependable incentives to develop products/systems that will reduce fossil fuel use.

2. All the money collected should be distributed equally to all legal residents. This is similar to Alaska sharing energy revenue with all its residents. About 60 percent of the public will end up receiving more money from their monthly dividend checks than they will pay in rising costs.

3. The Chinese have many reasons to join with us in this effort. Other nations will join in to avoid border duties and gain clean energy benefits.

4. Both the political left and right could agree on this approach since not one dime will go to make government bigger.

5. This plan allows all the energy alternatives to compete on a level playing field. Companies can plan for the future with more certainty and will hire more workers.

Hansen was the first to predict global warming some three decades ago. With the assurances and overall fairness of his plan, there is no reason to delay action.

BILL SWIFT

Albuquerque

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