Archive for Thursday, September 14, 2017

Letter to the editor: Climate solutions

September 14, 2017


To the editor:

I’ve always been proud to be a Kansan living in Lawrence. In our oasis and in other Kansas communities, we’re an educated, problem-solving, open-minded people. We are not self-centered, short-sighted, intent on comfort or averse to sacrifice. We understand common interest over personal comfort.

History and, recently, the global-warming threat demonstrate that markets, by themselves, do not remedy market failures. Governments do. In the aftermath of the Cold War, conservatives and liberals agreed that market-based democracies had done a better job than centrally planned ones at providing goods and services. Yet decades of deregulated capitalism have led to environmental damage on a scale that threatens the very prosperity it was meant to generate.

We need more conversation about the appropriate role of government in fostering innovation, remedying market failure and tackling issues like a super-charged climate system and its related disasters. We need governance to foster the technologies needed to meet our energy demands without destroying the natural world. Government is not the solution, but it has to be part of the solution. Once the government lays the foundations for new technologies, the private sector will step in to do what it does best, which is not to invent them but to sell them.

A common American error is to believe that freedom is the absence of state authority. History shows that although state authority can be abused, its absence does not lead to liberty. Its absence opens the door to tyranny and tragedy. Charles and David Koch have used their fortune to smear government and mainstream climate science as a “conspiracy.” Please write Congresswoman Lynn Jenkins and ask her to join the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. There are currently 26 Republican congressmen and 26 Democrats on the caucus. Kansas needs a seat at the table.


Bob Smith 9 months, 1 week ago

We don't need more Solyndra boondoggles.

Ken Lassman 9 months ago

You missed the point, Bob. By asking Lynn Jenkins to get on board with a climate solutions caucus, politicians from both sides of the aisle can leave behind the politicized foolishness that passes as the climate debate in order to come together to figure out government's role in stimulating the needed changes in our economy that will create the affordable low carbon ways of living that are needed to reduce carbon emissions before the consequences take down our economy.

The whole idea of a bipartisan caucus is to get consensus on solutions, so ramrodding through special interest subsidies or trying to compete with Chinese state subsidies that took down Solyndra won't be on the table. My guess is that the discussions will focus more on what mix of regulation and economic incentives will provide the biggest bang for the buck in stimulating the needed changes.

P Allen Macfarlane 9 months ago

Bob frequently misses the point because of his red-colored glasses.

Chris Golledge 9 months ago

What exactly do you mean? The same loan program that saw Solyndra and a few other failures ended up turning a profit. Are you saying we don't need more profit?

Brock Masters 9 months ago

Interesting point of view.

This statement caught my attention. "Once the government lays the foundations for new technologies, the private sector will step in to do what it does best, which is not to invent them but to sell them." Seems to me that government has not invented very much of anything in this country and the new inventions and innovations come from the private sector.

Is capitalism really deregulated as the LTE writer claims? Seems like we have many laws governing business.

And why stoop to personal attacks against private individuals? Why not keep the conversation on an issue level instead of bashing those with whom you disagree? We can accomplish much more when we keep the conversation open and civil, but I degrades quickly when you start attacking others.

I think our country has done a much better job at cleaning up previously polluted waters and reducing pollution. We can and should do more, but only if we take the politics out of the conversation.

Stop bashing Republicans about their point of view, stop with memes and talking points and start leading by example and focusing on real solutions that are proven and do not put America businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

Stop bashing energy companies - we need them. Maybe instead of bashing them we focus on, as individuals, using less energy and maybe the high profile climate change advocates can lead the way instead of saying so as I say and not as I do.

Regardless the cause of global warming, conservation and pollution reduction are necessary. Makes sense to take good care of our planet.

P Allen Macfarlane 9 months ago

When are you going to take your own advice? I've seen plenty of your posts and how you have a habit of labeling individuals.

If we are really going to discuss the merits of an idea, let's stick with the idea. I am in agreement with you on that one.

Brock Masters 9 months ago

Link to a post where I labeled someone. Can't say I've never done it in my life, but refrain from doing it in recent times. So show me where I've done it because I dispute you on it. Should be easy for you since you've seen plenty of my posts where I've done it.

And if you can actually show me where I did it I will use it as a learning experience to do better in the future

Ken Lassman 9 months ago

Brock, Do a simple search and you will find that the internet is awash with articles on the myriad of inventions that have come from government research--and quite a bit of it transformative, or in the modern vernacular "disruptive." Here's just one example:

Richard Aronoff 9 months ago

One more time.........

The reason you can open a can, eat the contents and not die is because Napoleon, who realized an army really does "travel on its stomach", offered a major cash award to anyone who could figure out a way to preserve food in containers.

If the government wants to spend taxpayer money, it should offer a major cash award to anyone who can come up with a reliable replacement for fossil fuels. Anyone means anyone!! Not just major contributors to whatever party happens to be in power at the time.

No tax breaks. No incentives. Just establish the award amount and get out of the way.

Brock Masters 9 months ago

Great idea.

I wonder if the idea would ever reach the government before large corporations got wind and bought the idea. Yeah, I'm paranoid 😀

Still great idea.

Michael Kort 9 months ago

RIchard, YOU GOT IT .

Unfortunately, we live in a society that buries good ideas quickly by purchasing them for a vault somewhere to be lost to humanity or by side tracking honest discussion and information with P.R. and lobbyists in favor of their troublesome predictably dangerous technology because they could care less as long as they get compulsively richer at humanities expense.....and we deal with the Devils of energy .

I wonder if Mar-A-Logo and Doral were damaged by Hurricane Irma ? Trumps St. Martin Island estate was probably destroyed by a direct hit ?

Donald, Popular King of Climate Change Denial !.................the whole world is laughing because it is obvious that he doesn't get it or want to get it or is paid not to get it !

So, how did the Texas refiners and chemical companies do in Harvey ? many of them were climate change deniers ?........and their employees ?,.......and now the world rides to their rescue ?

I am a soft touch as I gave to hurricane relief as many others have done ........but how about a little " STUPIDITY RELIEF " in this countries approach to global warming !?

Instead, we get populist propaganda paid for by people with big financial interests... whom reality is maybe forcing to reconsider.......well,....... maybe not ?

This is not a plague of God on this country.......this is human willful " get something for nothing stupidity " at work !

Typhoons ( eastern hurricanes name ) have hit Asia with regularity and now it seems to be our turn.......why does China support climate change action ?........they've been there, they' ve done that and they have desided to learned where we refuse to learn ( we did elect Donald didn't we ? )

Michael Kort 9 months ago

Now who would suspect that there was such a thing as a plug in hybrid pickup truck that could do around town at 100 mpg ?


Bob Smith 9 months ago

Rather spendy. "... The price for the trucks at “low volumes” should be in the $70,000 range..." Go buy one, Michael, drive it for a couple of years and let us all know how it works out for you.

Richard Aronoff 9 months ago

Good ideas are a dime a dozen. It's the execution that counts.

Ken Lassman 9 months ago

Actually, the technological innovations that have spun out of "the goverment" have often been pretty darn expensive--more expensive than what private industry would otherwise have been able to pull together. Think of the myriad innovations that were required by NASA to send someone to the moon and subsequent satellite launches, spinning off all kinds of inventions for private development into markets. Same with the defense department: most "pure research" used to be done through government contracts, which meant that the subsequent innovations were public domain. Unfortunately, as the push has been to spend less government and more private funding on research, those benefits are becoming also increasingly privatized as the up-front expenses of the research has to be amortized through high priced, patent-protected products that are often out of reach for many. It's a self perpetuating cycle at some point, with big-time profits needed upfront in order to fund big-time expensive research to develop the next set of privately owned innovations.

Bob Smith 9 months ago

So the usual suspects want more olyndra boondoggles? Who knew?

Ken Lassman 9 months ago

Of course you neglect to say that the loan program that funded Solyndra has been making a net profit, with a default rate of under 2.5 percent. You also neglect to discuss the subsidies that the fossil fuel industry gets from the government, or the huge nuclear subsidies received in the form of guaranteed loans with a 50% default rate, plus the house-of-cards Price Anderson insurance act that requires all nuclear power plants to pony up into a self insurance fund to pay for any nuclear accident, tho they don't have to pony up UNLESS an accident occurs, and even then only to a certain point, after which we taxpayers will foot the bill.

To get back to the original topic, the idea of this caucus is to winnow out unfair special interest subsidies while encouraging policies that will encourage innovation and private investment in projects that reduce waste, improve and disseminate sustainable low carbon alternatives, improve transmission and grid technologies that are needed to create a more resilient, flexible power network, etc. From what I've seen of the discussions, they are aimed at freeing up market and innovation in the same way as was done in the communications sector of the economy.

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