Coal gets a bad rap

To the editor:

The Aug. 13, “Move to clean energy” letter to the editor asks us to: “Please support the president’s energy policy” which “utilizes the Clean Air Act to cut carbon pollution from toxic power plants.”

1. We need to stop treating carbon dioxide like it’s poison, it is plant food. Studies have shown that plants can thrive in higher temperatures and on less water when the level of carbon dioxide is increased. Could this be why the corn crop exceeded expectations in last year’s low moisture conditions? Possibly, but I have no empirical evidence for it.

2. Ice core samples from Vostok and Dome Condor dig tell us that today’s CO2 is 30 percent higher and methane is 130 percent higher than during any of the past four interglacial periods. And since those periods are known to be approximately the same temperature or higher than our current period; we should really be cooking by now – if the global warming warnings (due to CO2) are true.

3. Between 1920 and 1940 much of the Arctic Sea melted, even though man-made CO2 was far less than today’s anthropogenic CO2. Same thing happened in 1817.

4. Ninety-five percent of the greenhouse gas effect comes from water vapor. Only 0.117 percent of the greenhouse effect is due to man-made atmospheric CO2 (these figures take into account the heat retention capabilities of the gases). If we assume 50 percent of this manmade CO2 is coming from coal fired power plants, that brings the CO2 figure down to 0.0585 percent of the total greenhouse effect worldwide from coal. If we assume the U.S.A. burns about 13 percent of the total coal being burned worldwide, the figure goes to 0.0076 percent. I would think that variations in the oceans carbon dioxide absorption and emissions cycles alone would render that figure insignificant.

In other words, this administration could shut down every coal fired plant in the U.S.A. and accomplish nothing (except destroy thousands of jobs in mining, processing and railroading of coal; and wasting taxpayers money). Keep in mind also that China burns more coal than the U.S., Europe and Japan combined. And that as of a few years ago they were building coal fired power plants at a rate of one per month.

I’m not saying we should stop moving toward solar and wind power; it’s just that coal fired power plants always seem to be hyped as some kind of major health threat.

Lots of improvements have been made; they certainly are not as bad as the ones I saw in the early 1970s when you could actually see clouds of black stuff coming out, and feel the effect on your lungs.

Phil Drietz