Ken Collins: See it before judging


— A man named Ryan kayaked the whole Colorado and wrote about what he saw first hand in Wednesday’s Steamboat Today. And he gets railed at by a bunch of locals who I wonder; have they done that, seen what he saw?

Have you personally witnessed the disappearing icecaps and glaciers? I have.

Have you seen the salinity of our irrigated grain fields getting so high that less is usable every year?

Are you that great of Sunday-Scientists that you know more than 10,000 scientists of every type, world-wide, that have been studying the effects of humans on our climate for decades?

Have you used ice drilling down so deep that you can read CO2 levels changes thousands of years ago? Can you actually think that dumping millions of tons of toxic chemicals into our atmosphere and our rivers/lakes is no problem?

The fact that our civilian and agricultural run-offs into the oceans, killing coral reefs, bringing many species to extinction, warming the ocean temps to the point that Katrinas and Sandys are becoming common place is just a coincidence?

We're fouling our air and water with the dirtiest energy on earth — coal and oil. And now the Keystone Pipeline could raise the bar of toxic pollution to a level beyond what a lot of scientists say is sustainable.

No one is saying this will kill us in a couple of years, just before very many more generations get their chance at life. What possible benefit, financial or otherwise, would these scientists get from their findings and warnings? What possible benefit would Exxon or Peabody Coal or Monsanto get out of spewing their poisons for another decade or so?

There is a thing called "environmental debt" (look it up) that states that entities that are destroying our environment should have to pay for that damage up front instead of getting off Scot-free.

Who pays now? The people living downstream of the toxic spill in West Virginia, the folks at the tars and spill in Arkansas, the farmers who are losing livestock near fracked wells due to groundwater pollution, pregnant mothers who have a 30 percent higher chance of birth defects if living near a methane-leaking fracked well (a 25 year study of 250,000 women in Colorado), the fish and wildlife of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan from a Keystone spill, the victims of Katrina and Sandy. I could go on.

Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Coca Cola, Pepsi and Unilever are investing millions in alternative energy methods to offset their "debt.” No, it is not sunspots or ancient volcanos or just another cycle. It is not just weather. Don't show me a bunch of websites. They can say anything you want.

The cost of these climate disasters is breaking our collective bank. Droughts, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes. How much have this winter's ice storms cost us in repairs and lost work?

The cost of finding alternative energy methods is dwarfed by what we are spending on dirty energy’s havoc-wreaking the last decade or so.

Job killer? There are more people working in the solar industry now than in the coal industry. We've got to move off fossil fuels and use what the Earth offers in alternate fuels.

Here's what I can't figure out. Even if you don't believe thousands of scientists, or their studies, or the disappearing water table and arable acreage, the increasingly devastating storms, why in the world would you laugh all this off and say we should just carry on as usual? Exxon/Peabody would love that.

Ken Collins



Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 3 months ago

Mr. Collins, A very passionate letter. I have one question for you. What if it was the conservative/republican party that was promoting the concept of global warming/climate change/polar vortex would you be so passionate in supporting them.


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 3 months ago

Ken, Here is another opinion. It is ok to present another opinion isn't it. I am not smart enough to know the correct answer and odds are I won't be around to see the final result but I do believe, contrary to the LA Time which won't publish any opinion pieces denying global warming/climate change (how's that for free speech) that an argument can be made against global warming. I will never deny climate change as that has been happening and will continue until the sun pulls the plug. Now that will be climate change eh. Almost wish I could be around to see that, but probably wouldn't be good for my kids. Keystone Pipeline. Have you ever seen the number of pipelines crisis crossing the USA. The Keystone Pipeline would be a gnat on the elephants behind. No, let's keep transporting by rail and clean up that mess when trains crash.


mark hartless 3 years, 3 months ago

You live in a Peabody heated home.

It's insulated with petroleum products.

You flip on light switches made possible by Peabody.

You have a car in your driveway that is powered by Exxon.

Your driveway is paved by products mined with petroleum-burning equipment.

Your food is hauled over the pass on trucks that use Exxon products.

Your food is fertalized with Exxon-produced products.

Your ski lifts are powered by Peabody.

The paint on your house is petroleum-based.

Your doctor, dentist, hospital and pharmacy depend on both Exxon AND Peabody.

Every single thing you do tomorrow that keeps you from freezing or starving to death relies on Exxon or Peabody.

You are an idiot.


Kevin Nerney 3 years, 3 months ago

OK all you Star Trek fans, lets imagine for a second it's 500 years into the future, oil is all gone since we used every drop. Some Scientist is going to come up with a great new idea. He says hey I found this black rock (coal) and it's a great source of energy. Why haven't we used it before and why didn't those idiots 500 yrs ago exploit what mother nature gave them? How's that for a spin on what Ken said--" We've got to move off fossil fuels and use what the Earth offers in alternate fuels".


Ken Mauldin 3 years, 3 months ago

Anytime I see someone argue climate change based on the findings of (x) number of scientists, in this case "more than 10,000 scientists...", I can't help but recognize a policy bias from the author. Science, as it turns out, has nothing at all to do with consensus because it only takes one scientist to get something right. See: Issac Newton. The fact that there is so much disagreement among respected scientists about man's contribution to earth's climate demonstrates that the science is far from settled. You don't see reasonable scientists arguing over gravity.


Scott Wedel 3 years, 3 months ago

Science is a fact based activity. It has developed a process of peer review in which research is questioned and experimental results duplicated prior to publication. Scientists accept that there are questions remaining to be answered as those are topics for further research.

It is largely a myth that science rejects change. What is really happening is that new ideas require evidence and initial papers proposing a new idea are typically short of evidence. But the new ideas cause other scientists to seek additional evidence. That is the sort of research that can establish careers because it establishes the scientist as being familiar with leading edge research. Virtually no scientist dreams of being a cog in the establishment working to disprove new ideas. Scientists are far more often hopeful that they understand some topic better than anyone else ever before and can advance that topic of science.

Plate tectonics is often used as an example of established science rejecting the new idea. But the original geological data was incomplete and there were alternative theories such as possible land bridges to explain similar fossils on different continents. At the time, it seemed just as credible that there could be land bridges as forces moving entire continents. It was when additional facts of good maps of the ocean floor came available in the 1960s that geologists saw features of widening ocean floor and eliminating land bridges that plate tectonics became widely accepted.

Other scientific theories such as Planck's Law which implicitly says Newtonian physics does not apply to the energy of light was accepted nearly instantly. It matched the data when the the alternative based on Newtonian physics did not.


Ken Collins 3 years, 3 months ago

Dan, in answer to your first question, absolutely. It's not political.
As far as Keystone, it's not the pipeline, it's the bitumen crap that it will carry. It's the horrific damage being done by TransCanada to the land and wildlife and the fact that the US will get nothing but a few temp jobs and all the risk environmentally, no oil. We've got to get the money out of government so we the people and not Corporations Are People run the country. And that includes Obama.


Ken Collins 3 years, 3 months ago

Oh by the way, Mark, I may be an idiot but: I live in a strawbale home heated by firewood, my driveway is not paved, and my food is not "fertaliized".


mark hartless 3 years, 3 months ago

Your hay was baled by a tractor powered by Exxon.

Even ii you split your firewood by hand you still used an ax forged with Peabody coal.

Unless it's mud, your driveway IS paved with either asphalt or gravel; either way it was brought to you with exxon products on trucks whos frames, motors, etc were forged with Peabody coal.

You admit having something "driveable" in your driveway.

Are your water pipes made of straw? Or are they petroleum based, or were they produced out of an open-pit copper mine?

Where did the copper come from for the wires you just sent this transmission through?

Just living in a place where you have to burn fossil fuel 200 days/ yr is an act of hostility against the environment.

And if every individual home burned firewood the environmental pollution would DWARF the Keystone pipeline and the open pit at it's northern end.

I stand by my assertion and add that you are a hypocrite too.


Cresean Sterne 3 years, 3 months ago

Everyone needs to smoke some green and calm down. If this country should fix anything right now it should be our electrical grid and infrastructure(sewer, bridges, etc.) There is aparent climate change and global warming that has been occuring for some time but changes in one small country isnt going to change anything on a world wide scale. We are doing many things that help such as being able to recycle just about anything now, more economical vehicles, natural gas, self contained green construction, solar, wind, water,etc. If we realy want to help the environment then we should cut down on population growth which is causing our resources to be more depleted (the whole world needs to tie a knot in it already) Ken, you are not an idiot for voicing your opinion. That would be judgmental, close minded and and does not help solve any issue. It only adds to it with offering no solutions and only harsh words twords those who are trying to offer ideas. Without listening to ideas, good or bad, we would be a very ignorant people.


Scott Wedel 3 years, 3 months ago

Not every issue is absolutist all or nothing. Just because we cannot eliminate CO2 consumption doesn't mean it is fine to use as much as possible. That reducing usage to modest levels when done by enough people becomes substantial. The increased MPG standards of vehicles has resulted in a notable reduction in gas consumption even as total miles driven has increased.


Joe Solomon 3 years, 3 months ago

Pretty classy reply Mark. Funny to think that others - like myself, and a good number of others here in Steamboat - actually agree with the opinion that Ken shares here. Guess we are all idiots for not thinking like you. Classy.


john bailey 3 years, 3 months ago

the Colyfornician of Colorado ... you stopped short ,Boulder is another 150 miles or so east....


mark hartless 3 years, 3 months ago


What did Forest Gump's Mamma say?? "Stupid is as stupid does, Forest."

Nobody is saying that it's "all or nothing" Scott. Usage is based on cost and demand. If electricity was as terrible or as scarce as environmentalists want to make it, the mere cost alone would be enough to curtail "excess" use. We all leave the lights on based on how much pain the electric bill inflicts.

And who are YOU. Scott, or Ken to determine what is an acceptable baseline amount of impact and what is "excessive" use that should be punished??

I hope someone from the hills of Afhganistan gets to decide how much skiing or other favorite activity of your's is "enough" for some of you clowns.

The whole idea environmentalists have been pushing is to make coal expensive so "green" energy looks cheap (or at least not so ridiculously expensive) by comparison.

What makes it STUPID is what Creasean alludes to: America is ALREADY clean. China and India put on coal-fired plants about 1 every 4 days. And they are NOT gonna stop for you suckers.

You are not gonna cause the oceans to stop rising one inch; not going to reduce the temperature one degree; not going to stop the polar bears from melting. All you're gonna do is make energy more expensive which will ABSOLUTELY lower living standards, will absolutely effect the poor and down-trodden the most, absolutely put more money in the coffers of huge, multi-national corporations, absolutely put more power and control in the hands of a faceless, untouchable bearacricy that you can NEVER un-seat.

Yes, in my opinion that makes you, well... not very smart; accomplishing NONE of your goals and losing power and comfort to boot...


Chris Hadlock 3 years, 3 months ago

Coming from the man that does not understand how rain that falls on an asphalt parking lot is different that rain that falls on a grassy meadow, I guess we all know how much to value Mr. Hartless' opinion on environmental issues.

It is absolutely clear that mankind is capable of screwing up the environment and there are numerous examples of exactly that over the last 50 years. Ask any resident of Times Beach, Mo. It only makes sense to try to create both an economy and and environment that our nation can live with for the next 100 years. We have the capability to do both! The only real question is do we have the wisdom.


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 3 months ago

This just in. No less a climate expert than Secretary of State John Kerry (how many homes does he have again - no energy use there) has declared that climate change is "the world's largest weapon of mass destruction." Hey the good news is when Iran gets nukes we can threaten them with "climate change". That ought to tell them who is boss. I can hear Iran, North Korea, China, Russia all quaking in their boots. Is it just me or does anybody else wonder why government is so intent on raising energy prices and health care costs while declaring they are for the people. When they say people I assume they mean all Americans which would include the middle class and less then middle class. Does anybody thing the 10%ers (which includes most if not all of congress) are impacted by energy costs or health care costs. Do you think, Hollywood, musical entertainers, professional athletes who are driven around in limos, fly in private jets and have big houses that use lots of energy care about higher costs. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't begrudge them the ability to waste energy, I just giggle at those who claim to be for the environment and waste all that energy. No hypocrites in that group. And Ken here is not such good news. You may have to find an alternative energy source to heat your home. The Environmental Protection Agency recently imposed restrictions on wood-burning stoves that will deal a blow to rural Americans who rely on wood to heat their homes.

Critics charge that the rule changes were enacted following pressure from environmental groups.


mark hartless 3 years, 3 months ago


I understand the difference just fine. So do my renters. They know their rent would be a lot lower if my developments didn't have to have so many stormwater measures that the stormwater which leaves my development is cleaner than the stormwater that left that property BEFORE I ever broke ground. How many such developments have YOU provided for your fellow man, Chris??

Many of those renters also understand what a sham it is for us to be forced through those motions on a 4 acre development while the farmer across the road plows up a hundred acre cornfield and, without any restrictions, throws down phosphates by the ton that wash down into the creek where his cows bathe and crap and pee. Yeah, EPA and DEQ and all you guys that cheer 'em on are SOOO smart...

Meanwhile, the con men that scammed all you dupes are burning jet-A by the ton and laughing their rich, fat asses off while flying from one to another to another of their twenty-thousand sq ft homes all over the world (which you can bet you ass don't have windmills out back), raking in the royalties on their investments (such as Nat Gas which is up four-fold in the last 16 months) that they conned YOU folks into running up the price of by sicking the EPA on fracking. Yeah, you guys are Sooo Smaaart.


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 3 months ago

Hey Ken, You OK if EPA takes away your wood stove? Hopefully your stove slides in under the rules.


mark hartless 3 years, 3 months ago

Wood stoves (and yes, I have one too) (come to think of it I have 5) are quite dirty compared to coal, even though both wood and coal are "evil" fossil fuels.

IF one actually CARED about the environment, rather than just wanting to trash fossil fuel energy companies, one could purchase much, much cleaner energy from Peabody or Exxon.

But when it comes to their OWN "footprint" most who practice the religion of environmentalism are really big "deniers".


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 3 months ago

Regards climate change and the current administrations stand that the debate is over. Reasonable people can disagree and I have attached a link to an article that is worth a read. It is written by a couple of scientists, not knuckle draggers such as myself. I look forward to the comments of the climate change is a coming disaster true believers.

Here is a brief part of the article. "What is not a known fact is by how much the Earth's atmosphere will warm in response to this added carbon dioxide. The warming numbers most commonly advanced are created by climate computer models built almost entirely by scientists who believe in catastrophic global warming. The rate of warming forecast by these models depends on many assumptions and engineering to replicate a complex world in tractable terms, such as how water vapor and clouds will react to the direct heat added by carbon dioxide or the rate of heat uptake, or absorption, by the oceans.

We might forgive these modelers if their forecasts had not been so consistently and spectacularly wrong. From the beginning of climate modeling in the 1980s, these forecasts have, on average, always overstated the degree to which the Earth is warming compared with what we see in the real climate.

For instance, in 1994 we published an article in the journal Nature showing that the actual global temperature trend was "one-quarter of the magnitude of climate model results." As the nearby graph shows, the disparity between the predicted temperature increases and real-world evidence has only grown in the past 20 years."


Scott Wedel 3 years, 3 months ago

So we should do nothing until there is a true disaster? And then at that point we have to stop all CO2 emissions to try to reduce atmospheric CO2 to a non-disastrous level?

Almost no scientist believes that we can add ever increasing amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere without eventual major consequences. Maybe it will be 2050 or 2100. Regardless, we can delay that if we reduce CO2 emissions now.

USA has been making progress and is currently emitting less CO2 than in 2004.


mark hartless 3 years, 3 months ago

Nobody is saying "we should do nothing until there is a true disaster- And then at that point we have to stop all CO2 emissions to try to reduce atmospheric CO2 to a non-disastrous level" except YOU, Scott. And you're just saying it to try and put words in your opposition's mouth.

We have just about the cleanest air on the planet and, as you admit, America has ever increasing air quality.

What the sane people want is to keep making progress at a pace which does not kill business and our economy.

How come, with leftists, there is always a certainty of a "payday someday" scenario about the climate, something that, while plausible is FAR from a certainty. Yet, rarely or never do you hear them whining about economic armegeddon although the consequences of current economic policies have HISTORICAL PROOF of impending disaster?

How come there is no commensurate hand-wringing about the disasterous consequences of a 75% illigitamate birth rate, a swarm of unchallenged hoards pouring over our borders unchecked, casting youth out into society that can't even spell their freakin name, empowering a central government beyond any sane level, failing to maintain critical infrastructure, etc, etc??

Of all the things which might destroy us, why is it that the only one you wussies seem MOST affraid of is the one you have the LEAST chance of controlling? I think it's because THAT'S the one issue that you can raise hell about while GROWING the almighty state. The other issues require CUTTING it and returning power and/or responsilility to the individual. Coiencidence?? I don't think so.


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 3 months ago

So Scott you don't address the article I posted, you just go into a typical left wing talking points rant on global warming. Unfortunately I am not surprised. There is no compromise from those who espouse the theory you support.


Karl Koehler 3 years, 3 months ago

Mark and Dan, great points to highlight and end this round of debate on. And Scott, there is another alternative. We can adapt. If we need to. Lots of information out there suggesting adaptation and mitigation strategies are far more cost effective alternatives than trying to eliminate or drastically reduce CO2 emissions. It really is a question of how best to allocate limited resources. As Mark points out, we've got all sorts of challenges to face and like it or not, we need to wisely choose which battles to fight and how agressively (and expensively) to fight them.

And though highly unlikely in my opinion, if things were to get desperate on the climate change front, we could always just... evolve ;).


Scott Wedel 3 years, 3 months ago


I saw the article acknowledging that increasing CO2 leads to warming, just less than some of the predictions. They are not suggesting that CO2 emissions are irrelevant, just maybe not as urgent as others. Thus, they are suggesting to be careful on the amount of money being spent to limit the global increases in CO2 emissions.

And yes we can adapt. We will probably have to build seawalls and dikes. What crops can be grown in what areas might change. And so on with lots of expensive infrastructure to protect the existing expensive infrastructure. Or we can adapt by using renewable energies and more energy efficient equipment. Is using a front loading washing machine that much more difficult than a top loader? Is a LED or CFL that much more troubling than an incandescent bulb? Are the newer more efficient cars that much worse to drive than an old gas hog?

You guys are railing against a myth that consensus scientists are saying there is a need to eliminate or drastically reduce CO2 emissions and want to take away or close down anything that emits CO2. The reality is that the higher the levels of atmospheric CO2 then the greater the climate effect and so the longer it takes us to reach 500 ppm the better.


Dan Kuechenmeister 3 years, 3 months ago

Sorry to disappoint you Scott but I am railing at a government that is saying regards climate change the debate is over, that climate change is a weapon of mass destruction. A government that wants to punish the middle class and less then middle class with higher energy prices now rather than letting the innovative Americans willing to take a risk in the hopes of being successful attempt to develop alternative forms of energy. They can do it, but it will take time. I think even you would agree that the end of the world due to climate change is not just around the corner


mark hartless 3 years, 3 months ago


I took you for an intelligent individual... right up to when you suggested that switching to front-loading washing machines would save the world.

China, Scott...Think China...

One coal-fired power plant EVERY SINGLE WEEK, Scott...

And they ain't nowhere near as clean as the Hayden plant, Scott.

Nor are the Chineese even CONSIDERING cutting their emmissions for you, pal.

And you're talkin' washing machines???

Are you high??

The FACT is that you DO NOT know that CO2 levels are proportional to atmospheric chyange. All you really KNOW is that is what you have been told and that it is what you have accepted and chosen to believe.

Please respomd to my assertions as to why THIS is the only catastrophe the left can see in the future when economics and societal issues are far more certain, based on historic data...


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.