War by other means

Published 10:53 am Saturday, July 6, 2013

To the Editor:

With the president’s speech concerning climate change, or more accurately, global warming, we’ll see a massive war of words against taking actions that may slow or even reverse the warming of our planet. Why? Easy answer. Almost any measures that might cut into the profits of the fossil fuel industry will be met with a PR campaign of unprecedented proportions, funded by said industries. Or a war of words, if you will. The same ones who spend millions buying air time, newspapers, magazines and other media to convince us that the warming of our earth isn’t real and even if it is, it’s a natural cycle, so not to be interfered with. In other words, human activity has no bearing on what our lying eyes see more of every year. This is to be expected and ignored. The science on this matter is quite clear and has indeed, been underestimated, as we recently learned with the latest news of the all time record CO2 in our atmosphere. If current trends persist, we can expect a 9-degree increase in global temperature during this century. Not good. Could even be worse if this causes the release of methane in the arctic and oceans, but that’s another story you might not want to think about.

Meanwhile, I just received a letter from my congressman, Morgan Griffith of the 9th district and he is calling the speech a “war on coal,” so we see how inaccurate the opposition is going be. With mountaintop mining methods, less jobs are needed and even with conventional mining, the sludge and pollution in surrounding areas isn’t a war on coal, but a war on the people who happen to be in the way of coal company profits. While I understand Morgan receives most of his funding from big coal, there is no excuse for his stance other than this fact.

Clean energy production would create more jobs, better health, especially for our children, make energy much cheaper in the long run and the technology to make this transition exists right now, even in Franklin, which could cut Dominion Power right out of the picture by using the Pretlow Industrial Park for solar panels and the Blackwater River for hydroelectric. Yes, the startup costs would raise electric bills at first, but in about 5 years, the cost of energy would be about half of what it is now, or less.

Since moving from Franklin to southwestern Virginia, I’ve seen much misery as a result of the coal industry on those who do the work and those who live nearby and it’s truly horrible if one’s values are about the quality of peoples lives and being a good steward of our environment. Big Coal cares not one whit about such things and never has, however with all the subsidies coal and other big energy corporations receive, when compared to what clean energy firms receive, it’s no wonder the lobbying efforts of big energy trump clean energy all the time, as so much money goes into the coffers of each party for their election or reelection from the big boys. For any real change in the way power is produced in the U.S., the influence of money must be trumped by informed voters who demand sustainable energy. Otherwise, it’s going to continue to become a planet, with problems our grandchildren will wonder why we didn’t fix when we had the chance.

While I disagree with almost everything this president has done and even with his speech, he could have proposed much more, it is a start however. If we really worked at it, we could soon be like Germany, who produces around 80 percent of its energy from sustainable and clean methods. Why we are so far behind Germany and others is clear and is part of what Eisenhower warned us about in his farewell address concerning undue influence in DC. We see this everyday in almost everything that congress and the executive branch does for the special interests at our expense. Let’s not let them get away with it anymore.

William Johnson
Draper, Va.