Letter to the Editor: Affordable impact | SteamboatToday.com

Letter to the Editor: Affordable impact

When it comes to climate change, I’m neither a denier, an industry apologist nor an ideologue.

Even so, I couldn’t help but notice a recent letter touting the benefits of EPA’s Clean Power Plan completely ignored any mention of what those benefits might actually be, instead offering self congratulatory horn-blowing about past successes of the renewable energy lobby in Colorado, and a reminder that we’re fortunate to live in such a progressively trending state.

Lost completely on the writer was the notion that regular earthlings might not see the spending of $60 in order to generate 51 cents in savings as a fabulous deal. For those from the planet Renupiter, this sort of economic trade-off is considered great success.

For the rest of us, it’s a sad reminder of how economic considerations are no longer weighed seriously when it comes to protecting the environment. 

No cost is too high, no perceived benefit is too low. The projected costs of the CPP are astronomical, while the hoped for benefits will be virtually undetectable. Yet champions of this proposal abound because environment. Webster’s defines ideologue as 1) an impractical idealist or 2) an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology. Hey Cinderella, you got a minute?

I work in the coal mining industry and make no apologies for it. In fact, you’re welcome. For decades, the industry and the people who work in it have done an outstanding job of providing a demanded commodity to the marketplace while acting as responsible stewards of the environment.

The resulting access to electricity has dramatically improved lives for hundreds of millions; 40 percent of electricity worldwide is produced from coal. I’ll gladly accept all the credit you wish to cast in my direction for the industry’s accomplishments on balance. 

Modern society’s demands for electricity continue to grow. Coal miners continue to provide for an affordable and reliable portion of that as best we can. Only, now, we’re condemned for our efforts as though we’re engaged in the practice of wildly digging holes to expose layers of $5 bills so that we can stuff them into our pockets fast as we can only to move on to dig another hole, the environment be damned. This is insultingly absurd.

No one to be taken seriously denies climate change. At critical issue though is the climate system’s sensitivity or lack thereof to CO2 emissions. This is anything but settled science; to suggest otherwise is to blatantly mislead.

Likewise, those who argue that all things (like spending $60 to save 51 cents) are practical because of the “threat” of climate change should not be taken seriously either. Vaguely informed proponents of the CPP are in my opinion pitching their tents in this camp.

A recent study out of CU Boulder found that the net effect of the CPP may in fact be to increase CO2 emissions. This perverse result is what happens when people who have no idea how the world works are allowed to construct regulatory schemes.

Between now and the end of the year, as the build-up to the COP21 boondoggle in Paris gains momentum, we’ll be subjected to a rising tide of media malpractice as wave after wave of advocacy journalism washes ashore in support of President Barack Obama’s egotistical effort to build environmental legacy with “meaningful” action aimed at curbing global warming. There is no such thing.

The shrillness of this cacophony will be inversely related to the strength of the arguments presented. For Renupiter dwellers befuddled by the word cacophony, it breaks down into the Latin roots caca and phony. Think it through.

Karl Koehler


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