Letters to the Editor

Energy choices

March 9, 2007


To the editor:

Global warming is starting to change the world we live in, and recent outbreaks of tornadoes in winter, instead of spring, is adding more proof to the position of most climate scientists today that are telling us that as the world's atmosphere warms, severe weather events will only continue to become stronger and more frequent.

Some states have already begun showing leadership by acting to reduce global warming pollution from cars and trucks. But the biggest step we can take to curb global warming pollution is to reduce the amount of fossil fuels we use to generate electricity.

Today, Kansas only gets roughly 1 percent of its energy from clean energy sources.

We should require the Kansas Legislature to establish a Clean Energy Standard, requiring that utilities generate at least 25 percent of our electric power from clean energy sources by 2025, and to support smaller-scale renewable energy projects drawing on biomass and/or wind in community-sized projects. Twenty states have established clean energy standards, and 25 percent would be one of the strongest standards in the entire country.

Generating 25 percent of our electricity from clean renewable energy sources is a step Kansas can take to do our share to curb global warming.

We could and should prove that Kansas is as big as we think it is.

Les Blevins, Lawrence


Chuck Anziulewicz 10 years, 11 months ago


Here's how attitudes toward Global Warming have pretty much evolved over the years:

1992:"Global warming doesn't exist!"

1997:"OK, it exists, but it isn't man-made!"

2002:"OK, so it's man-made, but its effects aren't all bad!"

2007:"Its effects will be really bad, but not until after I'm dead."

In other words, the reason most people are in willful denial about this is because it isn't likely to directly affect them anytime soon. It's going to be a long process that will have catastrophic economic consequences ... but as long as it doesn't hit people in the pocketbook NOW, they couldn't care less.

And the worst part is, any time there's a cold snap or an snowstorm, the skeptics just chuckle and say,"So much for Global Warming, HUH?" In other words, they see a single tree, but they can't perceive the forest.

There ARE simple measures that could be taken now, and while they might not solve Global Warming, it would be a start. Unfortunately even the simplest measures might inconvenience some people. For instance:

1: TREES consume and sequester huge amounts of carbon dioxide, and if we would start planting more trees everywhere they will grow, espcially INSIDE our cities, it would be a start. INSTEAD, we clear forests so we can build golf courses and subdivisions, and in Charleston trees are removed because people might just trip over the roots!

2: We could dramatically reduce electricity consumption if everyone would replace their incandescent light bulbs with cooler, long-life fluorescent bulbs. UNFORTUNATELY, those fluorescent bulbs cost more than most people are willing to pay.

3: We could invest more in mass transit, EXCEPT that people prefer having their own cars.

4: We could encourage people to purchase more practical, fuel-efficient automobiles, BUT people insist on buying gas-guzzling SUVs so they can ride around in greater comfort (all the better for our increasing waistlines).

5: And we just MIGHT start thinking about putting some kind of brakes on the growing human population. In my lifetime alone, the human population has DOUBLED from three billion to six billion, and it could TRIPLE to nine billion by the time I'm 70. These are people that will have to be housed, fed, educated, employed, entertained, and have their medical and sanitary needs met. And it will require more and more space. More forests will be cleared for housing and crops. BUT, suggest population control these days, and people go ballistic. Some religious people actually believe that there can never be too many people.

So with all this in mind, Les, I'm not going to hold my breath in hopes that people will wise up and do something soon. And future generations will CURSE us for failing to act when we knew what was happening.

imastinker 10 years, 11 months ago

You talk about looking at cold snaps as evidence there is no global warming - but the opposition uses the smae information (such as hurricanes or tornadoes in winter) to prove their point.

How did scientists have it so wrong 30 years ago when they thought the earth was cooling? Could they be just as wrong now?

Jamesaust 10 years, 11 months ago

I don't know why this author doesn't have the courage of his convictions.

Where is there any mention of the ONLY "clean" energy source able to come close to this goal? -- nuclear.

Either the situation is critical or its not. Based on this letter, I safely assume that there nothing serious enough to cause the abandonment of ideology for practicality.

Chuck Anziulewicz 10 years, 11 months ago


While there may have been some pretty wild speculation about climate change back in the 1970s, as I remember well, we have a lot of tools at our disposal today that we didn't have back then: Satellites that monitor our Earth in a wide variety of different ways (different wavelengths of light, for instance), supercomputers and computer models that take into consideration all the variables (even arcane aspects such as ocean salinity), and thousands of automated weather stations all over the world feeding us constant data (temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction). Our knowledge of Earth's climate is many orders of magnitude better than it was back in the 1970s, and it's getting better all the time.

Yes, there will undoubtedly be economic consequences if we undertake efforts to combat Global Warming now ... but I strongly suspect the economic consequences of FAILING to act will be far, far greater, and I don't think Jesus is going to come descending out of the sky to make it all better.


SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 11 months ago

I think Mr. Blevins gets his information straight from the DVD box for An Inconvenient Truth.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 11 months ago

By JOHN CURRAN Associated Press Writer

BURLINGTON, Vt. -- The city of Ben & Jerry's founding, Phish and the University of Vermont now has a new claim to fame- America's most eco-friendly place.

So says Country Home magazine, which ranked Burlington tops among 379 metropolitan areas in a "Best Green Places" survey that rated cities based on air and watershed quality, mass transit use, power use and number of organic producers and farmers' markets.

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Green Building Council, the survey rated Ithaca, N.Y., second; Corvallis, Ore.; third, Springfield, Mass., fourth; and Wenatchee, Wash., fifth.

Charlottesville, Va.; Boulder, Colo.; Madison, Wis.; Binghamton, N.Y.; and Champaign-Urbana, Ill.; rounded out the top 10.

"It reflects efforts on the part of the city and the people who live here to move in the right direction in terms of being green," said Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss. "It's great to have third parties making those assessments recognize it."

Burlington got high marks for the way its people, businesses and government value a green lifestyle and make it a priority, the magazine said.

Among its green assets:

  • A compost facility that collects food scraps from restaurants, supermarkets and food manufacturers and sells the compost to farmers, gardeners and landscapers.

  • The Burlington metropolitan area's 16 farmers' markets, five organic producers and three food co-ops.

  • Although mass transit use isn't big, car pools are- 12.3 percent of Burlington-area commuters use them, according to Bert Sperling, a research consultant who worked on the rankings for Country Home.

  • About 5.6 percent of the work force walks to work, and 4.6 percent work at home, which also played into the city's high ranking, Sperling said.

"It's certainly an honor to be called the greenest city in America," said Betsy Rosenbluth, project director for Burlington Legacy, the city's sustainable city initiative. "Burlington, for many years, has worked hard on many, many fronts, whether it's preserving open space or helping to clean up our beaches and Lake Champlain to preserve our environment.

"Burlington, like Vermont as a state, really understands the connection between our environment and our economy and our social health," she said.


bisky1 10 years, 11 months ago

merrill gosh buddy your sure right about that if you were here i'd just give you a big ol hug while i would value these lifestyle choices as prudent, to say they will save the planet is just plain silly. if the global warming argument was about only the environment and not politics, why do we not hear about the good things that will happen at the same time? what crap polishbear, every forest except for the western softwood forest is being replenished faster than it is being removed

Chuck Anziulewicz 10 years, 11 months ago

Bisky writes: "Polishbear, every forest except for the western softwood forest is being replenished faster than it is being removed."

EXCUSE ME? Are you not aware of how fast the rainforests of South America are being cleared for grazing cattle (which are great methane factories, by the way)?

Forests being replenished with WHAT, exactly? Soy beans and sugar cane? Are you getting your talking points from Georgia Pacific?

sourpuss 10 years, 11 months ago

Cutting down trees is one of the worst things we can do, for as trees decompose, they release their trapped carbon back into the atmosphere. Obviously, under non-human conditions, this helps maintain the balance within the atmosphere, but when things get out of whack, we should be keeping plants alive as long as we can.

We don't even need that much wood with which to build our houses. We can opt for brick like the Europeans do, using timber only for roofing trusses. And we have to leave the rain forests alone. I don't care if McDonalds has to raise the price of their McBurgers... perhaps they shouldn't be so cheap anyway.

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