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Letters to the Editor

Letter: Energy issues

October 19, 2013

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To the editor:

Most Americans, including myself, are too dependent on technology. I believe that some energy self-sufficiency is a way to maintain safety when natural or manmade disasters strike. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy (July 2013), the nation’s energy system is vulnerable to increasingly severe and costly weather events driven by climate change. Each component of the energy infrastructure — oil wells, hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants — will be stressed by more intense storms, rising seas, higher temperatures and more frequent droughts. As Americans, we should build a more resilient infrastructure that can protect our homes and businesses as we experience more powerful storms.

At the same time, we should immediately pass legislation to impose a carbon tax and dividend program that will begin to shift the United States toward an economy based on renewable energy.  Citizens Climate Lobby is advocating for a federal revenue-neutral carbon tax on fossil fuels that reflects their true costs to society. The carbon tax will help shift our economy toward balanced energy production and encourage efficiency alternative energy technologies.

Alternative energy sources can be designed to be more durable, less vulnerable and distributed.  Even a few PV solar cells on a personal residence can provide some basic electrical power in the event of a catastrophic failure in the main power grid. We still have time to act — if we start now.  As part of our responsibility to future generations, we must continue to reduce climate-altering carbon emissions, but as self-reliant citizens, we should adapt and improve the safety of our present infrastructure as well.

Comments

Richard Heckler 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Another victim of climate change.

How is Climate Change Jeopardizing the Sounds of Nature? By Kristen Rodman

October 19, 2013; 7:13 AM

Climate change has brought once lively and loud habitats to utter silence as their inhabitants of birds, frogs and insects have either vanished or drastically changed their migration patterns, according to researchers.

A relatively new study known as biophony, or the signature of collective sounds that occur in any given habitat at any given time, has provided scientific evidence to show that the sounds of nature have been altered by both global warming and human endeavors.

"Biophony is changing," bioacoustician and founding father of the research, Bernie Krause, said. "What was present 20 years ago or so has changed so radically that you wouldn't recognize the habitat from its voice of 20 years ago." @Bentler tweeted: "Accuweather: Climate change has brought once lively and loud habitats to utter silence. http://goo.gl/1NyRVZ #climate #wildlife #silence"

[url]http://www.accuweather.com/en/features/trend/climate_change_jeopardizes_the/18852750[/url]

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Scott Burkhart 10 months, 2 weeks ago

I am all for exploring, discovering, and producing renewable energy sources. I think it is an eco friendly way to live. I remember the years of polluted rivers, streams, and lakes. I remember when Lake Erie and the Monongahela River caught fire. We have taken great strides to reverse this trend to polluting the planet and living in our own waste. These measures should continue because we are the stewards of our planet for future generations to come.

I do not accept the notion of man made climate change. I will accept that the climate has changed, is changing and will continue to change. That does not mean that humans are the catalyst for this change. There are too many knowledgeable people who refute this notion. There have been too many discoveries of phony data or omitted findings that nullify whatever "scientific" results that they claim to validate.

There has been a leveling off of the the surface temperature for the last 15 years. The polar ice cap over Antarctica has increased over 1 million square miles in the last two years. A scientist in a recent National Geographic article convolutedly asserted that the ice cap is increasing because the Earth's surface temperature is warming. Really?

The evidence coming forth, with laser like accuracy (to quote a favorite politician), shows that solar activity and deep ocean currents determine the weather and temperature variations for our planet. The truth is that it is about money. If man made global warming turns out to be the hoax that I and others believe it to be, a lot of people will lose their reputations as scientists and the money that they bilk from the public coffers to perpetuate these myths will cease to exist.

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Jeffery Green 10 months, 2 weeks ago

quote I do not accept the notion of man made climate change. I will accept that the climate has changed, is changing and will continue to change. That does not mean that humans are the catalyst for this change. There are too many knowledgeable people who refute this notion. unquote

Sorry, you don't really have a choice of what the reality is. In 1850 the co2 atmospheric content was 280ppm and today we are about 400 ppm. That whole entire increase is human origon from carbon emissions. Co2 is a ghg and has the mechanism to cause warming.

climate oscillations, changes in solar activity, variations in the Earth's orbit, and volcanic activity.

These are other reasons for variations in the earth's warming and they are cooling. CO2 emissions have overwhelmed the natural causes and its all us.

We are responsible for all the warming of the last 50 years. It is also the reason for the most highly aggressive change over to renewable energy possible.

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Scott Burkhart 10 months, 1 week ago

"Sorry, you don't really have a choice of what the reality is."

Perception is reality. My perception is the whole "man made global warming" thing is a myth. I am educated, have the ability to assimilate information, and could debate this topic for hours if I so choose to do so. The evidence, in my opinion, that refutes this myth is overwhelming. So much so that there is not room on this blog to present it all. I will give you one example, however. Several years ago there were the Henny Penny warnings of the sky falling because the ozone layer was believed to be depleting. Come to find out that the ozone layer increases and decreases based on .......wait for it..... solar activity. Those decrying the end is nye finally shut up when they realized that they had no evidentiary substantiation.

So goes man made global warming. There are no models, not a few, not some, but none, that can prove cause and effect. There are plenty that show correlation but those are two different conclusions altogether. Correlation and causation, any scientist will tell you, do not equate to the same thing. So my reality tells me, and I have a lot of good company, that there is no cause and effect by man's CO2 emissions and global climate change whether it be warming or cooling. My reality is that too many people have rushed to the trough of government handouts, screaming "man made global warming" with their collective hands stuck out for the dole. It's how they make a living and if it is challenged they go bat crap crazy.

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Chris Golledge 10 months, 1 week ago

Well, there are observations/measurements that the energy radiated off the earth has gotten less in the range absorbed by CO2. If you think that is not cause, then I can't help you. http://lasp.colorado.edu/~bagenal/1010/graphics/earth_ir_emission.gif

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Chris Golledge 10 months, 1 week ago

A couple more comments:

"Perception is reality." Really?

"It's how they make a living and if it is challenged they go bat crap crazy." The fossil fuel industry represents 7% of the GDP, and they are being challenged, and they are, perhaps, going a little crazy. Have you noticed the commercials playing ads for coal and natural gas; how much do you think those cost? Another tidbit, the 234 members of congress who voted to move forward with the XL pipeline had received $42 million in donations from fossil fuel interests. Yes, it is very much about the money.

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Chris Golledge 10 months, 1 week ago

"If man made global warming turns out to be the hoax that I and others believe it to be..."

That will require someone to prove that the last couple hundred years progress in the science of thermodynamics is all wrong. http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/global-warming-from-a-conceptual-standpoint/2013/jun/22/a-brief-history/

The 'pause' does not mean what you think it means. Here is a decent take from someone who knows more about the physics than either one of us.
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/oct/18/global-warming-pause-meaning

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Scott Burkhart 10 months, 1 week ago

I have read both of these articles. They merely put forth the same conclusion that flawed models and omitted information gave everyone. Garbage in, garbage out.

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Chris Golledge 10 months, 1 week ago

What, specifically, is wrong with the history as I wrote it?

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George Lippencott 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Revenue neutral carbon tax??? That means that the middle class in Kansas takes a quadruple hit. They pay the tax through their carbon heavy utilities. They get back a smaller portion of the "dividend" because they are too wealthy. Their "dividend" is further reduced by the costs of administering the tax. They also have to pay to replace the carbon heavy utilities at a pace that will place a heavy drain on their resources.

The answer is a prioritized national program committing resources to the areas of the country generating the highest concentration of carbon. Nobody is evil in generating our carbon heavy economy. If it is public policy to reduce carbon emissions than it should be paid by a public tax. A carbon tax is a hidden tax because it bypasses the democratic process and appears indirectly in the utility bills - but it still reduces personal resources - disproportionally. If we want to do this we should do it together.

Now if things go as in the past I will be attacked and educated (unneeded) on the emissions problem. We are not talking emissions but tax policy. What we have here are young people who do not pay taxes or pay utilities lemming like following an effort by the Democrats to avoid the objections of those of us they want to stick with the bill. This is just another major income redistribution program disguised as an environmental savior. If we want to do it - it should be done by all in a prioritized way without penalty to any segment of the country.

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Chris Golledge 10 months, 1 week ago

Well, this is old ground. If you believe we have a problem, and are willing to do something about it, you can choose a system where government collects money and then chooses how to spend it - George's plan; or, you can choose a system where the government is obligated to return the money it collects to the general populace - the plan proposed by carbontax.org and the Citizens Climate Lobby. The carbon fee and dividend plan rewards those who produce less CO2, and places a burden on those who produce more. It doesn't get much simpler than that.

It is also unclear how this market-based approach violates the democratic process; especially in comparison to letting the government decide how to spend the money, because I don't think very many of us are entirely happy with how well that is working.

If anyone is interested, the disagreement between George and me is logged here. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/apr/22/letter-earths-not-flat/#c2299902

I'll point out that the countries Denmark, Japan, and Germany produce about half the CO2 per person that Americans do. Those are not third-world countries; and I suspect their economies are as well off as ours. You'll have to work to convince me that they can do things that Americans can not.

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George Lippencott 10 months, 1 week ago

The old use the ma,market ploy. The problem is that we in Kansas have a much bigger problem than most of the rest of the country. The carbon tax would hit us hard.

Now if you believe these people that our government (they woulod have to levy the tax and set up the process for dividend payments) would not rip off the revenue for the "poor", investments in technology, to balance the budget or some othyere "game" they always come up with then go with the carbon tax and enjoy the rape and pillage. It will never turn out revenue neutral where the middle class in Kansas is concerned.

This is simply a ploy to avoid having to levy a tax on all of us because it only really a tax on those who have a high carbon footprint. People in Medford OR will likely not be hit much even with the redistribution because they use hydro-power - something we lack.. Why should we be punished for decisions made 100 years ago (to use coal) when that was a totally legal and appropriate decision

Remember the carbon tax does nothing to actually address carbon generation. It just makes it more expensive. We would then have to spend a lot of our resources to address our coal utilities. Why should we bear that burden alone. A national program takes money from everyone (including us) and uses it to address the worst carbon generators. That is only appropriate given that reducing carbon generation is national policy.

Don't fall for the siren song of a carbon tax. It comes from the very people that can not balance our budgets and who spend money like "drunken" sailors (no offense to sailors). They love the concept of punishing those they feel have transgressed (as they believe we have for using coal).

This senseless pursuit of a punishing solution to a major problem is delaying coming to grips with that problem. Create a program akin to the Interstate Highway System. All we need is real leadership to get that done. Can the Democratic Party rise above their left wing and show true governance by getting us all involved.

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Chris Golledge 10 months, 1 week ago

George, in your solution, who would get to decide where the tax money was spent?

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George Lippencott 10 months, 1 week ago

We already know where the heaviest carbon generation exists. We would prioritize funding to address those areas and adjust our focus as we "fixed" them. By thta I mean national funding supplementing state and local funding to convert to better solutions. We would also use funds from that tax to address national issues such as the distribution of power.

The market is a wonderful thing but it only works if there is a real market. Ad a consumer I can not buy power from :"Duke" energy or VEPCO because I can not get it here.

The market willalso not address the political issues associated with the reality that the applications of renewable systems will never be equal.. For example we can bring on more hydro but only where there is water. We can do Geo-thermal only where there is economically exploitable conditions. The people there may not want to do that but that may be the best "national" solution.

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Chris Golledge 10 months, 1 week ago

By "we" do you mean government officials would prioritize the funding?

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Chris Golledge 10 months, 1 week ago

Umm, George, Oregon has a 30 cent per gallon tax on gas, and we have 24. Levelized cost for hydro power is $78/megawatt-hour, and levelized cost for wind is $70/megawatt-hour. Would you really want to trade places with them? Do you really think they will be willing to subsidize our conversion to wind?

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George Lippencott 10 months, 1 week ago

And what has that got to do with a carbon tax?? I again reiterate that out there in Oregon they will not be as heavily hit by a carbon tax because they are already using renewable sources that we do not have.

Remember the carbon tax does not fix anything. Paying the carbon tax is in addition to the money we are already spending to move to renewables.

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Chris Golledge 10 months, 1 week ago

Oregon already has a higher tax on one of the primary carbon sources. Your system would require Oregon to agree to pay for our conversion to alternatives (our most abundant is wind), where our alternatives are both more abundant and less expensive than the ones they have already paid for. A carbon tax would not. So, answer the question.

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George Lippencott 10 months, 1 week ago

See below. They would have to pay for the national goal of reducing carbon. Otherwise you are demanding we change, we pay for, it and we pay a penalty for having been bad. I would be perfectly happy to continue to enjoy low rates and let the rest of the country eat my carbon. I will long be dead before it causes an issue.

We are in this together and if change is required because we now collectively want a new environment it is only fair that all pay for those changes. What we are currently doing is not illegal. I wait with interest the court reviews of regulatory requirements addressing coal - particularly retrospectively.

As I said, some people just can not get to the common good but prefer punishing the newly identified villain.

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George Lippencott 10 months, 1 week ago

Yes it would. I do not view this problem locally. I view it as a national policy that addresses a national problem. Oregon should pay to reduce carbon just as we should. The temporary condition where they may pay more for power will rapidly be reversed as we pay additional sums to fix our carbon world and then pay for the more expensive world the follows. Are you suggesting that th carbon tax is to equalize the cost of energy wherever it may be found? I though it was to encourage investment in changes. My process pays for those changes.

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Chris Golledge 10 months, 1 week ago

I am suggesting that states that have already invested more in alternatives will not be willing to pay for us to make the same conversion they have already made themselves. I am pointing that your plan puts the money in the hands of the politicians, and for some reason you trust them more when they have control of where the money is spent than when they don't.

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George Lippencott 10 months, 1 week ago

I am sympathetic to that notion but we too have made investments. National problems need national solutions. The pain is not equal and we should not punish those with a longer road.

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Leslie Swearingen 10 months, 1 week ago

My thing is that it seems impossible to me that billions of people , though their life styles, are not going to alter the climate in some significant way. Larger and larger cities with taller and taller buildings change wind flow and create micro climates. Wind is like water and it too flows over, around , up and under where ever it can find a path. All of these buildings, and housing, requires heating and cooling which is then vented to the outside.

The real lesson of Soylent Green was not that it was people, it was what had happened to bring civilization to that point. When Sol is dying his friend played by Charlton Heston looks at the scenes on the wall of the earth when there was such a diversity of animal and plant life and he says, "How, could I have know?"

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