BANTLY: Act on global warming

July 9, 2013 

The current heat wave, as well as the ongoing drought here in California, emphasize the wackiness of our weather due to climate change.

Although global warming is denied vehemently by conservative politicians and business leaders, the documented fact is that atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased from 250 ppm to nearly 400 ppm since 1750. Geological processes, like volcanoes, could not have appreciably added to this value in so short a time. It is mankind's fossil fuel exhalations that are mainly responsible.

Any political actions to reverse this situation have been largely thwarted. During the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973, President Carter issued a directive to increase R&D into alternative energy development, which was immediately rescinded under President Ronald Reagan. One concept, called the hydrogen economy, would use power from solar cells to electrolyze water into hydrogen, to be used in power generation and transportation with absolutely no CO2 produced.

For a country to generate all its energy needs with this system would require only two things: water and sunlight. Although the infrastructure costs of the initial development would be high, about $1 trillion, we have spent $1.3 trillion on the Iraq war, and what return have we gotten from that investment?

STEVE BANTLY

Merced

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