Letters to the Editor

Looming threat

June 1, 2010


To the editor:

The world’s emissions of carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and natural gas are expected to rise by 43 percent by 2035, barring agreements to reduce output of gases blamed for warming the planet, the top U.S. energy forecaster said on May 25.

Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel sources should rise from 29.7 billion tons in 2007 to about 42.4 billion tons in 2035, the Energy Information Administration said in its annual long-term energy outlook.

This, would be a global tragedy that far exceeds the Gulf oil spill because humanity needs to reduce greenhouse emissions by a similar amount rather than allow them to rise any amount. Achieving this kind of reduction will require innovative new approaches that require new technologies that allow humanity to repower with alternative renewable energy and greatly reduce the burning of coal, oil and natural gas.

I’ve made a proposal to the city of Lawrence by appearing before the Lawrence Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB) that, if accepted, would provide a pathway for Lawrence to follow in the creation of several hundred good-paying jobs at the former Farmland fertilizer plant site, or other area location, manufacturing new concept repowering equipment. Eileen Horn, the new city-county sustainability coordinator, was present, as well as several members of the board.

I believe the people of Lawrence should be made aware of this proposal.


Tom Shewmon 5 years ago

Sure, I take all the data of global warming alarmists (whose work is mostly taxpayer funded) as gospel. These guys are paid to tell us this---they are liberals on the gov't. payroll.

SnakeFist 5 years ago

I prefer the uneducated opinions of global warming deniers (whose very existence centers around waste and inefficiency). These guys have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo - they're conservatives on corporate payrolls.

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

Would you guys quit breathing already!! Your breath (besides probably smelling bad,) is killing our planet!

You know, there is another scary chemical compound out there that we are exposed to, and ingest every day; and the government is doing nothing to warn the public about it. Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the highly reactive hydroxyl radical, a species shown to mutate DNA, denature proteins, disrupt cell membranes, and chemically alter critical neurotransmitters. The atomic components of DHMO are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol. There is far more DHMO on our planet than c02. I hope that doesn't give you nightmares!!

SnakeFist 5 years ago

Lots of people worry about DHMO. They build dikes against it and it still destroy thousands of homes and kills thousands of people each year. Unlike DHMO, CO2 emissions affect all of us.

Perhaps if you actually took a chemistry class, your opinion might be worth something.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Until the American people decide it's time to pull away from oil the big mideast invasion by BUSHCO will go on forever.

We don't need mideast OIL,nukes or coal!!!

Is Oil truly worth killing innocent men,women and children? NO!

Is OIl truly worth the lives of our military people AND devastating the military families? NO!

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

Yeah merrill; start walking and cancel your electric & gas utility!! ('Nukes' are the most efficient answer to this problem...see my post below..)

citizen0123 5 years ago

if you dont have the solution,dont complain.ill bet you drive your gas powered car everyday dont you.

puddleglum 5 years ago

sometimes I just let it idle and don't even drive anywhere.

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

Don't do what Al Gore does (fly all over the world polluting our atmosphere in his private jet) do what Al Gore SAYS!!

Quit drinking soda-pop while your at it; it contains c02 which adds to your personal 'carbon footprint'!!! Ban all carbonated beverages (yes, beer and wine too) for our planet's sake.

SnakeFist 5 years ago

This is a typical regressive tactic - attack Al Gore because you don't have the education to make a substantive argument against the real issue.

I assume, mr_right_wing, that you're against taxes and government. So stop using the roads, utilities, schools, and everything else built by, paid for, or subsidized by the government with tax money. Seems like a dumb response doesn't it?

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

I have a problem with a man (any man, not necessarily Gore in particular) who preaches one thing and lives another. Not to mention the man refuses to debate and never does Q&A. Mr. Gore needs to lead by example; find a way to travel that doesn't further pollute the atmosphere before demanding that the rest of us make radical changes in our lifestyles.

I have no problem with reasonable taxes. (I think you may have me mistaken for a libertarian my friend!) I do have problem with taxes going to things that aren't as much of a priority at a tight economic time like this. For example; I'd love to see our public library fixed up, I think it should be, but right now I strongly object to extra taxes to do so. When things get better economically and we each have a little extra money in our wallets, go ahead fix up that library. Taxes are deffinately necessary -- but when government takes your whole wallet, and not just SOME of your cash, I and most folks have a problem with that!

Mercy 5 years ago

"blamed for warming the planet", but not proven. This is a theory, but not scientifically proven. Let's stay focused on the real problems in this world. (Hunger, Lack of clean water, decreasing population, the moral degradation of our society and ever growing divorce rates and the impact this has on our society and families,,,)

SnakeFist 5 years ago

Gosh, did I miss the scientific proof of "the moral degradation of our society", or is that just your opinion? Funny how some people require absolute proof of things they don't want to believe in, and no proof of things they do want to believe in.

Rich Noever 5 years ago

"Decreasing population"....where?

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years ago

Intimating that you're concerned about scientific proof, then saying that "decreasing population" is a real problem in this world is flat out deception on your part, if only of yourself. http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html Did you perhaps mean that you know there to be a decreasing population of people like you?

devobrun 5 years ago

"Achieving this kind of reduction will require innovative new approaches that require new technologies that allow humanity to repower with alternative renewable energy and greatly reduce the burning of coal, oil and natural gas"

Like what Les, windmills, solar cells? Innovative new technology? Windmills are about 200 years old. Solar cells are about 55 years old.

Are they better now? Yes, but they still aren't good enough. Not even close.

I'm all for doing something with the old nitrogen plant. What specifically are you going to manufacture?

Brent Garner 5 years ago

The leftist environmentalists all urge us to adopt their "clean" energy sources. But, are they truly "clean"? What about the toxic materials needed to make solar cells? Even environmentalists are protesting windmills now because of their threat to birds and the land. Is there an energy source that would truly satisfy all the environmentalists' demands? I begin to doubt there is. It seems that the true party of "NO" is the party of the environmentalists.

Scott Drummond 5 years ago

I'm and environmentalist and am in FAVOR of the following:

Making birth control available throughout the world to address the unsustainable population explosion which fuels our energy demands.

Achieving much better conservation of the vast amounts of energy currently wasted in our office buildings and facilities.

Equiping every house with a small rooftop wind turbine and solar panel in removing the need for use of an energy grid for most households.

jafs 5 years ago

I think you should look into the possibility that you suffer from "oppositional personality disorder".

Frederic Gutknecht IV 5 years ago

How long will you insist on touting this ridiculous theory? I'll admit that it's amusing to hear such an asinine assertion a few times, but it's insane to consider it true! It's quite obvious that money is your god and that you fear losing your place in "heaven", but others are concerned with more important things! You know...like sports, fame, perversion and the media which provides such essentials. OK. I'll let you get back to staring into the mirror and failing to recognize the teat in your mouth and plank in your eye!~)

cfdxprt 5 years ago

Do you explain the cost in building a Fischer-Tropsch reactor for the conversion to HCs?

Do you explain the necessity of upstream process equipment to clean syngas so all the foulants aren't contained in the produced HCs?

Syngas can be produced from about anything - that's the beauty. Getting it where it should be for real production requires serious engineering. Costs I've seen are in the billions, for moderate scale plants. Do you think a meeting with a few people will get you the money, or do you not understand the process? Your web page tends to indicate the later.

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

Dear Leader's all about grand gestures.

jaywalker 5 years ago

" In addition, he called on the Senate to get to work passing real clean energy legislation that would put the US on the path to clean, safe energy"

Then what was the point of bailing out the auto industry? Printing all that money seems even more fruitless now. And what that "gets to work" on is another HUGE financial blow to virtually all Americans.....again. Never let a good catastrophe go to waste, eh? Is everyone aware of the legislation that's already been passed to support this Green movement? Any home built before 1978 must be fully inspected for lead paint or you face a $13 to $25 thousand dollar fine for ANY improvement. Wanna sell your home? If you don't have an Energystar appliance = the existing MUST be replaced. Light bulbs = must be replaced. HVAC not up to new code? Must be replaced. So much for any equity you might have been lucky enough to still hold, that is if your home isn't already valued at 50% its buying price.
So, gee, we're not gonna drill here....but .it's ok to keep sending billions to hostile countries so they can do the dirty work and then jack up 2 to 3 times today's price in the next couple years? I want to buy a new car. Forget it. How much longer before catalytic converters are obsolete and/or outlawed? As if our stopping the drilling of our own resources is gonna make a damn bit of difference to the rest of the world or even our own environment. Anyone know how many countries are out there in the Gulf drilling? As if we stop and that will eliminate the possibility of another disaster. Every day things get a little more disturbing. There's a bathroom on the right.......

guess_again 5 years ago

"I believe the people of Lawrence should be made aware of this proposal."

Put it up on the web.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Conservation of energy is the key to achieving desired results in today’s competitive business environment. Conservation of energy leads to -

  Lower input costs through substantial savings in electricity bills.

  Increased profitability due to lesser operating and maintenance costs.

  Positive impact on the environment.

  Reduced burden on limited resources of the nation as a whole.


SnakeFist 5 years ago

I think that slogan first appeared on a billboard outside Chernobyl.

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

I am an honest guy; so I'll be up front--I cannot prove this, but if I had money I'd wager a decent amount. I'd suggest coal (including mining) has killed more people than nuclear energy has simply effected health-wise.

I could do a post that would put merrill to shame about the human error that took place at Chernobyl and why it couldn't happen today in the United States with the nuclear technology that exists. You'd just offhandedly dismiss it, so I'm not wasting our time.

SnakeFist 5 years ago

"It couldn't happen today."

Wasn't that the argument you regressives were making for drilling in ANWR - that an oil spill couldn't happen with today's technology? Why you insist on putting your faith in greedy, for-profit coporations is beyond me.

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

I used to be as ignorant as most...nuclear was dangerous, nuclear is evil, nuclear is a killer...run as fast as you can from nuclear!! But then I heard about a guy who was a founder of Greenpeace that had changed his mind...so instead of just listening to propaganda I really looked into what is published about nuclear, good and bad. Wow...that was quite an eye opener. I have not done that kind of research on ANWR...again, just being honest. The people at Chernobyl.were very poorly trained and the equipment they were using (even back then) belonged in some kind of museum. The safeguards available today are so numerous; as I said, I could write on and on...I'd just suggest you do some reading yourself. Apparently some other environmentalists have...more of them are coming around and now even obama has said he's willing to consider it (now that's a jaw dropper!!) Don't live in the dark my friend. Don't accept everything the Sierra Club says as 'gospel'!

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

To reduce pollution is to reduce energy use at every opportunity which is something that does not require new technology yet saves all of us money,money,money and more money.

Global warming is one of the most serious challenges facing us today. To protect the health and economic well-being of current and future generations, we must reduce our emissions of heat-trapping gases by using the technology, know-how, and practical solutions already at our disposal.

*The Union of Concerned Scientists at the Copenhagen Climate Negotiations As talks intended to prevent the worst consequences of climate change get underway in Copenhagen , UCS's team of international policy experts and scientists are on-site, working hard to deliver the urgently needed agreement. Keep tabs on their activities and hear other news and analysis from the conference via our video updates. http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/

*Key Provisions in the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act. Though the bill in many ways mirrors the strong comprehensive framework of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) that passed in the House in June, there are several key areas in which the legislation differs. http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/

*Costs of Climate Inaction Failing to act on climate change is prohibitively expensive—from flooding and storm damage in coastal communities to health care costs and agricultural losses in our heartland. Unchecked climate change could saddle taxpayers with hundreds of billions of dollars in damages. Learn about costs in your region, and the Senate bill aimed at limiting our climate impact. http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/

======== Living in a small town makes it quite convenient for reducing vehicle energy use. It allows a lot of us to walk,bike or ride the T and not use our motorized vehicles FOR EVERY social event, every shopping excursion,doctors appointment,trip to the library,every meeting etc etc.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Our 97% HVAC system has certainly reduced energy consumption considerably thus cost of operation noticeably. For this we are forever grateful. It will pay for itself.

devobrun 5 years ago

What is a 97% HVAC system. Is that like my 4-60 Ac in my car? Open 4 windows and drive 60 mph.

devobrun 5 years ago

Forget tariffs and pennies per kw-hr. What is the energy budget for these systems? Joules invested, joules operating, joules delivered.

hipper_than_hip 5 years ago

Westar Lawrence is adding pollution control equipment, so that's a move in the right direction.

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

The local Westar plant needs to be shut down.

Fact Sheet FS-163-97 October, 1997

Radioactive Elements in Coal and Fly Ash: Abundance, Forms, and Environmental Significance

Coal is largely composed of organic matter, but it is the inorganic matter in coal—minerals and trace elements— that have been cited as possible causes of health, environmental, and technological problems associated with the use of coal. Some trace elements in coal are naturally radioactive.

These radioactive elements include uranium (U), thorium (Th), and their numerous decay products, including radium (Ra) and radon (Rn). Although these elements are less chemically toxic than other coal constituents such as arsenic, selenium, or mercury, questions have been raised concerning possible risk from radiation.

In order to accurately address these questions and to predict the mobility of radioactive elements during the coal fuel-cycle, it is important to determine the concentration, distribution, and form of radioactive elements in coal and fly ash.

Abundance of Radioactive Elements in Coal and Fly Ash

Assessment of the radiation exposure from coal burning is critically dependent on the concentration of radioactive elements in coal and in the fly ash that remains after combustion. Data for uranium and thorium content in coal is available from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which maintains the largest database of infor-mation on the chemical composition of U.S. coal.

This database is searchable on the World Wide Web at: http://energy.er.usgs.gov/products/databases/ CoalQual/intro.htm. Figure 1 displays the frequency distribution of uranium concentration for approximately 2,000 coal samples from the Western United States and approximately 300 coals from the Illinois Basin.

In the majority of samples, concentrations of uranium fall in the range from slightly below 1 to 4 parts per million (ppm). Similar uranium concentrations are found in a variety of common rocks and soils, as indicated in figure 2. Coals with more than 20 ppm uranium are rare in the United States.

Thorium concentrations in coal fall within a similar 1–4 ppm range, compared to an average crustal abundance of approximately 10 ppm. Coals with more than 20 ppm thorium are extremely rare.

During coal combustion most of the uranium, thorium, and their decay products are released from the original coal matrix and are distributed between the gas phase and solid combustion products.


mr_right_wing 5 years ago

With all the electricity merrill has used to post his 'long winded' thoughts, he's caused our average global temperature to increase by .000000003 degrees! Same on you.

I'm going to write an editorial commanding you to turn off your computer!!

Now excuse me while I put about 50 plastic grocery bags in the dumpster. (I will be walking to the dumpster, so I will get some exercise though.)

Richard Heckler 5 years ago

Ratepayers should get behind more local water power,wind power and solar power. This approach would bring with it hundreds if not thousands of new job opportunities which in turn would drive new economic growth instead of tax increases.

Think fiscally responsible!

Les Blevins would be more successful if he were a high paid lobbyist.

Flap Doodle 5 years ago

Internal combustion lawnmowers make the Baby Al Gore cry.

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

Several years ago a wind turbine farm was proposed in the Kennebunkport area. The first liberal family of our nation put a quick stop to that proposal; it would have obstructed their view. (Sounds like a buch of stinkin' repubs!!!)

SnakeFist 5 years ago

The problem is population. It makes no net difference to increase efficiency by 10% if you simultaneously increase population by 10% - the same amount of energy is consumed and the same amount of pollution is created.

Furthermore, many "clean" technologies only hide their impact. An electric car, for example, doesn't burn gasoline so everyone thinks its clean, but the electricity used to charge the car's battery comes from a coal-fired powerplant. As Aristotle said, "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch".

Mixolydian 5 years ago

I think everyone should travel in those vacuum tubes that banks use in their drive through windows. Just make them bigger.

Chop Chop. Let's get our top scientists working on that tube technology before it's too late.

ilikestuff 5 years ago

OMG, this is a joke right?

CO2 classification as a pollutant is a scam.

Even field testing, were it on the level is nearly impossible. The fact that thermometers in cold climates were pulled, that many others were placed near heat sources doesn’t seem to concern anyone.

The fact those scientists tasked w/compiling the data were shown to be unscrupulously, ethically compromised ought to further concern us.

Further, the fact our US Senate seems hell-bent on moving forward despite these issues shows it’s not being honest w/the American people.

Even Senate Republicans seem to determined to move forward w/Cap & Tax. They will give it full support when India & China are onboard, factual relevance be damned.

The only entity who has conducted experiments relative to dangerous CO2 levels is the US Navy for its submarines, a closed system where CO2 is a valid concern & it’s shown that levels can be substantially higher than currently suggested for earth’s climate which is, of course, hardly a closed system.

The simple fact is there is no, nor has there be shown to be any correlation between earth’s climate & industrialization relevant CO2.

We need to & should conserve energy & do all within our power to care for the earth but this is a scam not a relevant & sound method for reducing man-made damage to the planet.

Further, could we/should we actually reduce atmospheric CO2 w/scrubbers, etc there really will be hell to pay.

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

Surely you are aware that the #1 'global warming' gas is water vapor. Let's eliminate that first, then move on to c02, etc.

ilikestuff 5 years ago

wikipedia... You probably found a similar site relative to Eastern Bunny skeptics.

How many times in how many moments was its "hockey stick" graph revised in the wake of the Copenhagen fall-out? Good one, solid data, solid presentation.

Don't worry, you'll get your wish despite my protests, a KU graduate of environmental studies no less.

We'll have out of control energy prices and cost of living expenses within18 months no matter what I say.

Chris Golledge 5 years ago

I gave you something easy to read. Did you spot something fundamentally wrong with the description on that page? I'm sure you can find a more complete, accurate description in a textbook near you, or at the library.

Which hockey stick, author and year, are you talking about? The basic shape of that graph has appeared in about a dozen articles based on completely unrelated proxies.

Which scientists do you think are compromised? The half-dozen or so at the Hadley CRU, who were exonerated, btw? Or, some others of the hundreds who have done work in the area over, say, the last hundred years or more?

ilikestuff 5 years ago

Oh wow, that reading comprehension, library access jab never gets old does it…

Given your inference of being well-read in the religion of “global warming” I’m not surprised you’re unaware of such controversies as surround the “hockey stick” graph & “global warming” seemingly since it’s conception.

I’m not surprised you’re unaware Michael Mann has been under some scrutiny related to his hockey stick methodologies & algorithms. He smoothed out older data & exaggerated recent data to give it its pronounced blade. Incredibly, he remains utterly uncooperative of other scientist’s requests to peer-review and duplicate his work.

He should have been further discredited when the UNEP lifted the graph straight out of Wikipedia. The graph itself hadn’t been peer reviewed nor had it originated from a peer reviewed publication (Wikipedia). Never to be embarrassed of such, the UN forged ahead citing the graph as if it had been a published & peer reviewed work.

And when you refer to the exoneration of Mann, Jones & co., presumably, you’re referring to the “independent” investigations conducted by the EAU, PSU &/or UN. These made quite a production of stolen emails, procedural issues, misconduct, etc. even going so far as to slap them on the wrist.

None of the independent panels, however, addressed issues of whether or not data were manipulated nor were they generally competent to determine whether or not there has been appreciable human influence on climate change in the past decades. In other words, they were a charade.

Funny how carbon dioxide, once considered a most necessary gas, now, for political gain is considered a pollutant. Bummer for plants, bummer for the scientific method… Hmm, enjoy paying your carbon tax & dramatically higher energy bills, etc, etc.

mr_right_wing 5 years ago

One thing I applaud obama on is that he is willing to consider nuclear power. I've said this over and over again, but here it is once more...

Nuclear power puts no c02 in the air, and actually puts LESS radioactive material in our atmosphere than burning coal! Of course the usual uneducated response I hear is "nuclear waste! nuclear waste!" No longer the concern it once was; technology exists today to reduce "nuclear waste" by 95%, I'll repeat that...ninety-five-percent! Spent fuel rods can be reconditioned and materials re-used. Hydrogen is a very promising fuel source for tomorrow, but producing hydrogen takes a lot of electricity, and coal & natural gas buring plants just can't generate that volume, not to mention the incredible cost of trying. Nuclear produces plenty of power, and cheaply. If in the short-term we wanted to simply get off foreign oil, nuclear could help free up the natural gas we now use to create electricity; but natural gas doesn't help with the writers (alleged) c02 problem.

Solar? Wind? Sure; by all means. They just aren't as reliable or efficient as nuclear. I'm very suprised; I've actually read that more and more environmentalists are starting to come around. barry, you're right--nuclear power, let's do it!!

ozzynbn 5 years ago

Unless you live naked in a cave you are a hypocrite if you claim you are against global warming. The clothing you wear, the food you eat, the computer you are reading this from, the car you drive, the house/apartment you live in, etc.... took fuel to make these things. And none of these things used 100% non-polluting energy.

Time for you environmentalist to step and lead the way. Now, be on your way to your cave and show the rest of us you aren't just talk.

SnakeFist 5 years ago

I assume you're against taxes and government. So stop using the roads, utilities, schools, and everything else built by, paid for, or subsidized by the government with tax money. Time for you regressives to lead the way! Now, hitch up the wagon and show the rest of us you aren't the hypocrites we think you are.

Do you see how worthless your response is now?

ozzynbn 4 years, 12 months ago

Your assumption does make an *ss out of you. I have never had a problem paying taxes and know that they are a necessity. I always pay my property taxes on time and have never been audited. So, big mouth, what else you got in trying to label me?

My original post stands on its merit and shows how worthless your response was. Trying thinking the next time before you post.

Kontum1972 5 years ago

we are gonna die eventually So!....obtw...your worried about that when BP just jacked up the gulf coast....trying to change the subject are we now....?

Chris Golledge 5 years ago


You can't identify anything wrong with the wiki link I provided, despite your mockery. You can't identify the source of 'the' hockey-stick graph; there was an original that did appear in a peer-reviewed journal. There have been multiple, also peer-reviewed, reproductions since then. *And, aside from other factually incorrect statements, you'd rather believe there exists a multi-national conspiracy, with thousands of members, that has operated over decades without being detected, than believe that CO2, and other GHG, molecules behave in the atmosphere in the same way they behave in every physics lab.

I stand by my first response.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.