Increased carbon dioxide emissions are inevitable [Letter]

September 18, 2014

The Sun's recent editorial "Too much carbon, too little time" (Sept. 11) is in line with the global warming arguments which are based on forecasts rather than accumulated technical and political realities. The article states that CO2 levels are 142 percent higher today than before the Industrial Revolution which began about 1800. At that time there were 1 billion people in the world; today there are 7 billion; by 2050 there will be 9 billion and by 2100 there will be 12 billion. This is a 1,200 percent increase in population since 1800. Most of the increase in population will be in under-developed nations in Asia, Africa and South America.

Today there are currently at least 2 billion people existing on less than $2 per day. Jared Diamond estimates that U.S. citizens on a per capita basis consume 30 times more of the world's resources than citizens of Kenya. Resource consumption is both directly and indirectly related to the consumption of energy. On a purely moral basis bringing up the world's expanding underclass to a third of the U.S. standard of living will require an enormous increase in energy consumption.

Studies of existing power facilities in the U.S. and Europe show that there is no measurable reduction in CO2 production when wind and solar projects are added to the energy mix because they are extremely erratic with low service factors. Since there is no storage capacity for electric power, thermal plants continue to operate inefficiently, cycling and wasting steam and producing CO2 so that the turbines can be instantaneously brought on stream when the wind stops or the sun doesn't shine.

China has extreme differences in living standards, with 1 billion people in the East moving into an upscale industrialized world and 300 million peasants living in the West under the same conditions that existed 200 years ago. To avoid a revolution and civil war China needs to quickly improve the living standard in the West. CO2 reduction is not high on their list, but an increased standard of living with increased consumption of resources is.

France has the world's most sophisticated energy policy. They produce 75 percent of their electric power with nuclear plants; reprocess their spent rods, making discussion of nuclear waste storage moot; have the world's most advanced high speed electric rail system; and minimal wind/sun projects. France has the lowest power costs in Europe and produces one-third of the CO2 that the U.S. does.

Tesla is on the cusp of converting the U.S. automobile fleet to 100 percent electric power. Emulating a 40-year French strategy coupled to Tesla will produce real CO2 reductions in the U.S. without economic subsidies. However, the world is going to require more fossil fuel driven energy because of the massive increase in population and living standards, so the efforts should be to accept the inevitable of more CO2 and adjust accordingly.

Charles Campbell, Woodstock

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