Letters to the Editor

Clean energy, at what costs to us?

Regarding: Brian Gunn’s My Turn article (“Let’s change, be responsible in supporting cleaner energy,” Auburn Reporter, July 25):

Mr. Gunn is nothing, if not passionate and dedicated to his point of view. It is people like him that are moving the bar because most of us don’t care enough to get informed or involved.

It is my belief, however, that if the average American knew more about their energy system and how it operates, how environmentalists are twisting facts and studies to generate a desired outcome, and how the subsidies and tax breaks are being paid for to accomplish their ends, we probably would rise up and put an end to it.

Because the bottom line is Americans like their way of life. We like our comforts and ability to power our TVs, smartphones, computers and iPads, get hot water by turning a tap, jump in a comfortable car to go somewhere, or hop on a plane and be somewhere in a couple hours.

Just as important, we want to have some disposable income to buy things and do things after paying for energy and power.

Mr. Gunn’s vision of this world is for all of us to pay significantly more money for what we take for granted, to waste money, both tax revenue and private income, that could be used much more efficiently for other higher priority activities.

He’s quite proud of his work to block the XL Keystone pipeline. Much of that pipeline is already built, it just needs a few sections to be completed. But in his view, we should continue to ship it less efficiently and less safely via rail. Better yet, it should never come into the U.S. and stay in the ground.

He would turn back the energy productivity bonanza we are beneficiaries of in the U.S. from fracking; releasing both trapped natural gas and oil otherwise unrecoverable, that is leading to us being far less energy dependent on the Middle East and other questionable sources.

Not only is this driving less dependence, but our economy benefits from higher employment with living-wage jobs, manufacturers bringing jobs back to America to take advantage of lower energy prices and the ability to influence world events by having energy to share and not being under someone else's thumb.

In his mind, we should never burn coal, and too bad for the tens of thousands employed mining it, even though they are paid good money to do it.

Do we know better? Sure, they trot out all the "facts" about how the world is getting warmer and how we're going to melt the ice caps and flood the coasts. Interesting, though, that they've had to game their data to say what they want it to say. Emails between climate scientists have shown they seem to play fast and loose with data. And when their computer models forecasting doom and gloom don't pan out, they simply tweak the program to generate an answer closer to reality.

But the forecasts have yet to come anywhere near what we are experiencing, and they continue to tweak. Even if there is more CO2 in the atmosphere, the truth is we do not know, nor can we predict with any certainty, what that means or how it will affect us.

History is rife with scientific consensus about things, but later, after it has been proven to be completely wrong, the lessons are not learned that might prevent similar group-think. Scientists are compelled by the system to generate a certain finding. Their grants and employment from government depend on it. Go against the flow and you'll be looking for that $15 job again.

Finally, Mr. Gunn praises renewable energy and what Germany is doing as a model for the U.S. More than anything else he wrote, this area displays his either lack of understanding or willful ignorance. Anybody with 10 minutes can Google and read about the hole Germany is digging itself into. They're decommissioning their nuclear power reactors and replacing them with renewables (solar and wind). Sounds great, but it comes with a high price; nuclear generates no green house gases, and when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing, the power ends up coming from power plants burning coal.

According to a recent article, their use of coal is up 13 percent in four years, their emissions are up, the price of their energy is three times higher than here, and their industry and consumers are suffering for it.

In conclusion, it would be nice if we had unlimited, emissions-free energy. One day maybe that will be the case. In the meantime, I would personally like to see my tax dollars spent on the most effective and efficient activities, not on less-efficient things that don't address the problems we have.

I don’t want to pay more taxes and higher rates to build solar arrays on the homes of rich people who can afford them, when I can’t. And I certainly don’t want one group of society forcing its misguided agenda on me to solve a problem that might not even exist.

– Dana Holgate

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