Karl Koehler: Do your homework

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I’m at an age where I consider whether various activities truly merit my time given the limited amount I have left. Cooperatively engaging in a staged exercise in propaganda reinforcement like the Environmental Protection Agency’s listening tour regarding carbon pollution control measures, well-intentioned or not, doesn’t make the cut.

Nor does beating around the bush. I used to assume an attitude of polite deference when encountering poorly informed opinions pertaining to global warming; everyone’s entitled. I’d probe a little, trying to understand which distorted factoids seemed to hold sway, and then offer counterinformation that usually was dismissed with a mixture of surprise, suspicion, subject changing, etc. — anything but logical engagement with readily available information. I’ve found it’s exceedingly difficult to disabuse people of their “beliefs” in this regard. So, I no longer bother.

What I’ll do now is simply tell people they’re wrong. If you think CO2 must be regulated in order to avert or mitigate some perceived significant threat, you’re wrong. And no I don’t have a degree in climatology or atmospheric science that gives me credentialed standing to make that statement. Nor do I need one.

What I have is what any rational individual needs to come to an informed conclusion when it comes to carbon dioxide and global warming: a willingness to be objective, the courage to think for oneself, common sense and an appreciation that this exceedingly complex question takes a significant investment of time and thought to begin to grasp — an investment that I’ve made having followed the issue carefully since 1987 and that most flippant observationists have not.

Do your homework. Then we’ll talk. Until then, all I have to say is you’re wrong. In the meantime, our debate is over.

In short, I have what EPA as an agency apparently lacks. But more importantly, EPA has something I lack — a politically driven agenda and the vast resources of the federal government at your disposal to pursue it. And this is where things get dangerous. This is where members of our community and our country find themselves uncomfortably at odds with their very own government. This is where EPA is demonstrating a willingness to sacrifice the very livelihoods of citizens that have worked hard to provide affordable energy to our country. For what exactly? For politics.

Any CO2 control measure the agency proposes will have no discernible impact on the environment. None. EPA knows this. So what are you up to? To those moved to respond along the lines of, “But the longest journey begins with a single step...” I remind you, our debate is over.

Miners and power producers have been in our communities for years working to utilize coal while providing good livings for their families. Secondary benefits have accrued as the resource was utilized: even more jobs and an essential building block for the country’s continued prosperity affordable energy.

In their spare time, miners and their families have been your neighbors, your friends, your kid’s coaches, your kid’s friends, your community’s volunteers, your customers, your clients, etc. From my perspective, it’s unsettling to now see so many willing to cast them adrift without a second thought or to remain silent as selectively advanced, incomplete and mostly misunderstood concerns for the environment outweigh the immediate concerns for people living in our own communities.

You may decide that is indeed the price that must be paid for progress. But I’m going to insist you make that decision with your eyes wide open. “First they came for the communists.”

Karl Koehler

Hayden

Comments

Dave McClure 10 months ago

OING-O BOIG-O! You are not a climatologist! At least you admit it. We were warned in the 70's Karl about climate change. I would be more than willing to debate you and others of your ilk anytime and anywhere! By the by, have you apologized to your children or grandchildren about the state of the environment you are leaving them? You should. I have. My name is Dave McClure. I live at 2354 Savoy Place, Steamboat Springs, CO. My phone number is in the book. Don't complain about the EPA because we are the EPA. If you do not like their policies it is your fault. You are the person who has been electing folks who have allowed others to ride roughshod over policy. I can't wait for our debate. I'll provide the coffee.

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Karl Koehler 9 months, 4 weeks ago

ODIO. But in my opinion you’re being way too hard on yourself and may well be freaking the kids out a bit too. Seriously, here in the Yampa Valley things really aren’t too bad environmentally speaking. In fact, they’re pretty good. Too many eurasian doves but other than that, few complaints. Thank goodness I wasn’t raised with my folks apologizing for having already screwed things up. I’ll bet yours didn’t do that either. Personally I had enough issues to grow through without that anxiety thrown into the mix. I’m curious, what’s a kid supposed to say to something like that? Gee pops, that’s ok? No wonder kids today spend hours and days escaping to Call to Duty land or Facebooking as though they’ve lost all hope for a meaningful existence. Better in my view that we educate them about the relationships between existential needs (food, water shelter), lifestyle choices (such as choosing to become a permanent inhabitant in a once pristine mountain valley), resources (raw materials, energy, ag products) and environmental impacts. Better to tell them the world’s not perfect but it’s manageable and with their help and some wise decision making, things can and will continue to improve. Oh, while you’re at it, tell them wind and solar power aren’t the answer in spite of their parents generation’s manic insistence that it be so. Teach them to think for themselves, let them draw their own conclusions, and trust them to meet the challenges they’ll face. Do that and we’ll all be amazed at the results. Or we can continue to teach them that somebody else has already figured out what the answers are and here’s what they need to do. Continue to reinforce the idea that centralized government intervention is the best mechanism available to them to improve their lives and the state of the world and we should simply trust and support certain officials, especially unelected bureaucrats, because after all they know best. Do that and we’ll all be amazed at the results too. Millions upon millions of people have already been amazed at those results. Personally, if the day comes when I feel compelled to apologize to my kids or grandkids for an attribute of the world that develops or worsens to their detriment on my watch, it's more likely it will be for failing to protect and preserve their liberties and personal freedoms to the same extent that I was able to enjoy mine. That’s the legacy that was gifted to me by my predecessors and the one that I’ve far too long and far too easily taken, and allowed my children to take, for granted. But that’s just me. Have a good weekend Dave.

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Robert Huron 10 months ago

In the 1960's the Federal Government started telling people that smoking was hazardous to our health and caused cancer among other things. The tobacco companies swore that this was false and smoking was safe and enjoyable. The people that worked for these companies were hard working people and neighbors to many who made their living in that industry. However over the years it became apparent that these companies where wrong and they only cared about making money. Pumping CO2 into the atmosphere is also hazardous to the health of the planet which is causing temperatures to rise slowly over time. Those of us here now have just started to see the changes to weather patterns which has produced devastating storms from the mid west tornadoes, east coast hurricanes and just recently massive flooding in the front range. In the 1970's and 80's when I used to fly over the North Atlantic Greenland was always white no matter what time of year it was. In the early 2000's I noticed it is now brown as the glaciers have melted. I find it interesting that the only climate scientists (5%) that say this is all a hoax happen to work for the energy industry or FOX. The other 95% believe as the earth warms we will have many more severe weather events across the globe. It has nothing to do with politics.

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Karl Koehler 9 months, 4 weeks ago

ODIOT (Our Debate Is Over Too). But here’s my response to you: surely you don’t mean to infer that because the government once may have been on the right side of a tobacco debate decades ago that you are now comfortable deferring to their judgment in all things? Learning tobacco health chronology is without a doubt on my list of things I no longer have time for - so I’m going to take your word for it. Perhaps you’re older than me but I just don’t remember the decades of national prosperity or the very foundation of the industrial revolution being built on the tobacco industry. On the other hand, I think affordable energy did have a little something to do with those things. I was 12 when I started smoking (I was stressed from my folks apologizing to me about Kennedy’s nuclear war). It took me maybe 2 days to figure out that it may not be a good thing for me to do. That was many years ago and my memory’s not what it once was, but I don’t recall being contacted by the federal government to tip me off about their health concerns pertaining to tobacco. Maybe that is why I quit, but I honestly don’t think so. The point is its apples and oranges. The benefits derived from cheap energy are in no way comparable to the benefits derived from tobacco. The commonality that there are companies and employees involved in both endeavors and the government is opposed to both means NOTHING when it comes to a logical assessment of whether CO2 emissions are likely lead to dangerous global warming. A more meaningful correlation from my perspective is: Al Gore’s family raised tobacco. Al Gore promotes global warming alarmism. Therefore Al Gore is wrong about everything and only interested in profiteering (I find this truism actually works pretty well!). Same thing applies to your North Atlantic observations. Climate changes. Just because you once saw some ice melt or just because someone makes an entire movie of glaciers melting, it does not mean CO2 emissions are the primary cause. If you had instead flown over the South Atlantic, would you now be a skeptic because the polar ice cap there has grown to a record extent? Lastly, I’m afraid it has everything to do with politics Robert, everything.
It boils down to a question of how to wisely allocate resources –in this case financial resources. I ask you, would the planetary environment be better served by spending kajillions of dollars, sacrificing GDP here in the states, and imposing economic hardships on ALL of us and our kids for the sake of what is going to be, at least according to the experts, a completely ineffectual effort - a mere gesture really - to combat so-called global warming? Or by sending just a fraction of that proposed expense to China for the express purpose of adding pollution control equipment to the power plants there? Plants is dire need of emission controls as highlighted in another post on this page. The answer is pure politics. You have a good weekend too.

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PJ Howe 10 months ago

Dave and Robert...I have some very good land prospects for you. $1 an acre, please contact me ASAP!

Dave, a debate with you would be entertaining, in the least. Please bring your argument how the earth has warmed over the last 15,000 years without an SUV driving around it for 14,960 years of it. Please bring you argument how anything that the earth, sun and moon do, have nothing to do with the temperatures we (and the dinosaurs) experience(d). Please bring your arguments that…oh, dang, this is too easy. Doesn't it suck when realty smacks you in the face? Humans aren't, and can't, do anything to the atmosphere of this planet. It is cool to think we can. Our arrogance is definitely there to believe we can...but...we can't.

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Dan Kuechenmeister 10 months ago

Robert. It would be great if you would cite references regards your suggestion that pumping CO2 into the atmosphere is causing the dire weather patterns regards hurricanes, tornados, floods et all. Here is some interesting info. Check out cdc.noaa.gov regards tornados. According to that site there is no apparent impact on the number or strength of tornados due to CO2/climate change. As population expands thru the Midwest and technology improves more tornados are recognized. Does it mean there are more tornados now. Maybe, maybe not. Regards hurricanes, please check out patriotpost.us/opinion/15298 or google the work on hurricanes done by Joe Bastardi. Temperatures are slowly rising. Well yes they are. About 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 132 years. Is it possible that this rise in temps has been a good thing. Is it possible it has increased the amount of tillable land to produce feed grain. Regards flooding in Colorado. Here is interesting website that suggests that over the past 140 or so years the majority of the damaging floods were prior to the 1980's. http://www.assessment.ucar.edu/flood/flood_table.html. And regards Greenland, from approximately 1000 to 1400 those pesky Norwegians had inhabited parts of Greenland until the "little Ice age" basically wiped them out. Is there climate change. Absolutely! Do humans have much to do with it. Seems like a lot of hubris on our part to think so. Please watch BBC's series Planet Earth to see how small a foot print humans have on planet earth. The good news is that fortunes have been made promoting global warming morphed to climate change. Google Al Gore. Ain't capitalism great? And finally what happened to the global cooling promoted by the climatologists and the media in the 1970's?

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John St Pierre 10 months ago

Mr Kuechenmeister please explain what is happening to many of the Chinese cities in a country where there are no rules.... and tell me how man there does not impact the environment!!!!! Take the time and look at this stunning satellite photo... http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/10/25/smog-coal-debate Look at this satellite photo and tell us how the EPA has been so out of line to prevent this from happening here???? -When your buddy Cheney led us on his "Christian crusade to kill the infidel's" in Iraq and Saddam blew up Cheney's oil wells.. have you forgotten those graphic photo's and massive environmental damage that to this day still ravage that country????

-I guess you forget what NYC & LA use to look like in the 60's / 70s Do you remember the smog cloud you would descend into as you came down Floyd hill into Denver ????

Seems to me your living in a cloud.....

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Dan Kuechenmeister 10 months ago

Hey John, just saw your post. Trying to figure out what I did to set you off. I didn't mention China, I didn't mention EPA. I responded to Mr. Huron's post regards his concerns about the impact of CO2. I am happy to some how have provided you with the opportunity to once again espouse your already documented hatred for any thing Cheney. Regards Cheney, whom I have never met but apparently he has become my buddy. I am wondering which is worse. Being a buddy of Cheney or a buddy of Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. I am not smart enough to figure that one out but somebody out there might be.

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mark hartless 10 months ago

Karl's approach is probably sound. Religious Environmentalists can not be convinced otherwise. They can no more be reasoned with than one can convince a suicide bomber that there are no virgins waiting for them on the other side. They don't want to hear otherwise... period.

One can mention historic facts like the Thames River which stopped freezing long before SUV's.

One can mention how minor, fractional changes in the sun's attitude toward earth would have more effect on climate in 1 year than 10,000 years of global Co2 emissions.

One could cite historic data for periods of climate change that took place long before man even existed in any significant numbers.

One could remind them of potential volcanic activity which would squash global temperatures.

One could even remind them of the warnings of the next coming ice age we were assured of in the '70's and ask them "what if we had set about on mission to preemptively combat that predicted ice age by trying to warm up the planet"???

In the end none of it will matter because, just like the suicide bomber, this is their religion.

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jerry carlton 10 months ago

John Explain to me what we can do about China? Then tell me how much the US contributes to the worldwide problem. Next I drive a car that gets 25/20 and drive less than 10,000 miles per year, keep the thermostat at 65 in the day and 55 at night, and recycle at Safeway every Friday when I go to the grocery store, and then go to City Market and Walmart thus combining all my trips. Any other helpful tips to save the planet except riding the bus? That would make it tough to recycle and carry all those groceries.

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John St Pierre 10 months ago

we can do nothing about China.... my point is thru the EPA we have cleaned up and prevented similiar things here at home.... And while they may at times go overboard.... it has done far more good..... one has only to look around at the abandoned mines in our own backyard and realize what happens when there are no watchdogs....

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Sam Jones 10 months ago

A funny and sad debate indeed with no possible resolution. Sounds a lot like the congressional madness earlier this month.

Just an FYI on a related subject - panels in the Craig community solar garden are now on sale. They are taking deposits at pre-construction pricing and they will sell out before breaking ground as they did in summit and Carbondale and all across the front range. Of course this won't appeal to everyone ( wink) but if you're interested in having your electric bill go away for the next 30 years with power from your own panels priced at a 30-40% discount! feel free to give me a call. I can steer you to the right people. This program is for financially astute individuals who understand investing and place a value on hedging against the rising costs of power using the economies of scale found in community owned solar. Climate deniers and religious environmentalist are both welcome!

Cheers

Sam Jones Financial advisor to YVSC 720 979 8695

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George Hresko 10 months ago

Sam-As a financial advisor perhaps you can tell me, what are the critical assumptions driving your financial recommendations for buying these solar panels. What is the payout period for these panels? How much is the subsidy by the government? What are the assumed electricity rates that solar will earn? What are the annual maintenance and operating costs? Thanks.

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Sam Jones 10 months ago

Hi George,

thanks for asking the questions. I'll give you the short answers for everyone's education and then invite you to call me if you want more.

assumptions: 1. Electricity prices are not static and likely to rise from their current levels (40 year lows).
2. Panel prices have dropped almost 60% in the last 4 years while efficiency yields per panel have gone up - 19% efficient now. 3. Community solar installations have the added cost benefit of economies of scale (1 permit fee for the whole array versus permit fees project by project for instance) 4. This community array will be sold out before you have too much chance to dwell on it :-)

Payout period? I assume you mean payback period? Between 10-15 years depending on your consumption and change in rates/ kwh from YVEA. Payback can come in the form of energy cost savings monthly or additionally through the return of invesment when you sell your house with no electricity bill (house fetches a higher price). ROI is 5.7% annually, better than bonds, cash and the vast majority of investor's portfolios :-)

Government subsidies? the 30% federal income tax credit for renewable energy installations is factored into the price/ panel offered by Clean Energy Collective (the installer).

Credit rate for solar production via the community solar garden offered by YVEA is .10/watt. You are being billed currently at a rate of .077/watt by YVEA. Yes, the credit for solar production is higher than the amount you are being charged.

Annual maintenance cost (to you)= zero. CEC maintains the solar array at their expense for the life of the panels (25 years)

Feel free to call

Adios

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PJ Howe 9 months, 4 weeks ago

What about the incredible toxic mess left from the production of solar panels? There is a reason that China can send those over here for pennies on the dollar (like our dollar is worth anything). China doesn't care about local enviromental problems. They dump the cadmium in their local rivers. What do we do? How is it being hidden here?

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Mark Ruckman 9 months, 4 weeks ago

People on both sides of this argument should watch the movie Chasing Ice.

I know it made me reconsider what I held as the truth.

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