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Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 1/26/2014

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Time to rethink reducing carbon

The recent extremely cold weather has brought further discussion of climate change, or global warming (“Climate change role in cold snap triggers debate; Hypothesis centers on massive loss of Arctic ice,” Jan. 12).

Climate change believers cite the extreme nature of recent weather and the fact that weather is not the same as climate. Global warming skeptics will point to large snowfalls and sub-freezing temperatures across much of the nation.

Regardless of the weather, we can expect calls for greater government action to reduce our carbon footprint. As we consider solutions, we should remember the results of prior government actions to reduce carbon emissions.

About a decade ago, biofuels such as corn-based ethanol were touted as a means to reduce oil imports and reduce carbon emissions. But it requires almost as much energy to produce corn-based ethanol as it contains. And many studies have shown that the production and use of corn-based ethanol release more greenhouse gases than would be released by burning petroleum.

Using corn for ethanol instead of food has increased the price of food. Because poor people tend to spend a higher percentage of their money for food, this disproportionately affects those in need.

Corn-based ethanol has been a costly and ineffective solution to climate change. Any further “solutions” need to be well considered and scientifically based.

DOUGLAS OLIVER

Shakespeare Lane

 

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Climate change a reality; tax fuels

Thank you for your detailed article about climate change. It’s a shame that some people think local weather proves or disproves the settled science of climate change.

Nearly all climatologists affirm a warming planet over decades and longer, caused by human activity. The only relevant debate is how best to solve this crisis.

A carbon tax, under consideration by the Senate finance committee, has bipartisan support from leading economists. We should demand the elimination of expensive subsidies in favor of a tax on fuels that produce greenhouse gas at their point of extraction or import.

Returning that revenue equally to all American households would give consumers the ability to choose between paying higher fossil energy prices and investing in cleaner, cheaper alternatives. Only then will we begin to address the warming our children will face.

JEANNE BRUNSON

South Setauket, N.Y.



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