CO2: A national health and security issue |

CO2: A national health and security issue

The Garfield County’s 10,000-plus wells are estimated to have produced enough gas that when burned completely would load the atmosphere with 72 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from 2011 through 2012.

Interestingly enough, the global level of carbon dioxide has reached a critical 400-ppm. The Earth has not seen this level of carbon dioxide in 3 million years. Current efforts to abate this global warming gas have not been successful as the gas level continues to rise year to year.

NASA states, “With the exception of 1998, the nine warmest years in the 132-year record keeping have occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the hottest years on record”. A partnership between Google, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NASA and TIME magazine has resulted in the first multi-decade, interactive time-lapse of the Earth showing how its surface has changed over nearly 30 years. The melting of Alaska’s Columbia Glacier is especially revealing.

The data and interpretation seem to be pretty straightforward. However, the National Academy of Sciences of America has found the following anomaly in data interpretation. One Study demonstrated that “more politically conservative individuals were less in favor of investment in energy-efficient technology than were those who were more politically liberal. This finding was driven primarily by the lessened psychological value that more conservative individuals placed on reducing carbon emissions.”

Another study showed that “this difference has consequences: In a real-choice context, more conservative individuals were less likely to purchase a more expensive energy-efficient light bulb when it was labeled with an environmental message than when it was unlabeled.” These studies help me understand the reluctance of the areas conservative politicians to support the new technologies.

I think Colorado SB 252 challenges utility companies that supply us with electricity to move more quickly to solar, wind or to new techniques to produce electricity to meet the 20 percent renewable energy standard by 2020. These companies have great scientists and engineers who really would rise to the challenge by 2020. This is not a market economy decision. This is a national health and security issue.

Thomas Rutledge

Glenwood Springs

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