Raleigh Jenkins is certainly skilled at telling half-truths about climate and energy issues in his letter published June 30.
Jenkins wrongly implies that renewables won’t need cleanup. But the millions of wind towers required in an all-electric energy infrastructure can’t be re-used. Just as constant vibration degrades bridge concrete, old towers need cleanup and replacement after a 20-year life.
An all-electric vehicle fleet is impossible. Batteries deplete after one to two hours of heavy driving. Recharging takes four hours at 220V (10 at 110V). Trucks, taxis, trains and airplanes can’t afford to change out hundreds to thousands of batteries every hour, or to carry the extra weight. Besides, the pool of change batteries would be impossibly large. Electric vehicles will remain a niche application to minicars.
Jenkins’ fracking comments appear designed to sow fear without coming to any specific point. Major gas producers use multiple casings of concrete and steel to contain frack liquid until reaching target rock, typically thousands of feet below an aquifer. I challenge Jenkins to produce federal or state environmental reports documenting aquifer contamination by frack liquid. As for surface effects, the industry has become sensitized to public concern, and is increasingly more scrupulous about water recycling.
Ozone in cities is not an automatic consequence of fossil fuels. It derives from improperly maintained catalytic converters allowing tailpipe volatile organic carbon and NOx to exhaust, instead of harmless water, carbon dioxide and nitrogen.
Jenkins invokes the man-made global warming hobgoblin without realizing that every single primary physical effect required by the theory is absent. Space prevents an explanation, but that theory requires less heat radiation to exit the top of the atmosphere, more back radiation directed at the ground and higher humidity and greater warming at middle elevations. These must be present or else global warming that is occurring (as opposed to city warming) isn’t man-made, and the fact is that none of these are happening.
Jenkins fails to mention U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., lists 1,000 international scientists who are skeptical of the man-made theory of global warming in their climate publications, or that his claim that 90 percent of scientists believe the theory comes from a nonrepresentative sample size of 103.
Jenkins’ oil shortage is a myth. A 2006 DOE report estimates that new C02 injection could quadruple recoverable U.S. reserves.
Natural gas, of which we have more and more, can be economically converted to diesel or gasoline. A different process can convert hundreds of years of coal reserves to oil. The application of fracking to vast expanses of shale rock is adding billions of barrels of previously unrecoverable oil.
However, I will agree that conservation is wise.
Claude Culross, Ph.D.