Climate predictions — Doomsday pollution cuts

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  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 3, 2014 2:42 p.m.

    Let's try an experiment.

    Let the people like the letter writer and supporters who say, "STOP using fossil fuels"... stop using fossil fuels for a year or two. That should be enough time for the miracle widget he writes about to appear and mature and become widely available.... and if it happens... I'll bet everybody will be glad to switch to the new magic widget!

    Any takers?


    You should lead by example you know...


    When that new widget (which will only appear if we stop using fossil fuels) appears... you will have no problem convincing people.

    But asking them to just follow you on faith that if they do it... the widget will come.... probably not gonna happen.

    Get the widget first... THEN we will follow you!

  • grouchyoldman Arden, NC
    July 3, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    It appears to me that the failure to consider population growth, consumption of electricity, number of coal generation plants and the availability of other forms of energy over the last 40 years leaves a gaping hole on both sides of the issue.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    July 3, 2014 9:54 a.m.

    difference between Utah coal and West Virginia coal?
    Utah coal - hard coal, less sulfer and burns cleaner
    West Virginia coal - soft coal, higher sulfer content, more particulate emmissions.

    This is the reason Utah coal is in high demand for the Japanese, Chinese and other Asian markets.
    You can sit on the Centerville freeway overpass watching the millions of tons of coal headed for Portland and the Asian markets.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    July 3, 2014 8:11 a.m.

    Thanks for an excellent article.

    But it contains FACTS.

    Those pesky things cause indigestion among conservatives.

    I wonder how I can get a contract to sell TUMS at all the GOP functions in Utah? I'd make a fortune!

    That's Free Enterprise, isn't it?

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    July 2, 2014 11:34 p.m.

    "...go nuclear in an instant and be done with it...".

    When the Koch Brothers can position their business interests to make billions on the Nuclear Industry, America will go nuclear.

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    July 2, 2014 11:24 p.m.

    Ok mcdougall. Could you please identify that clean power source for me and will that source benefit where I live so that people still have good jobs. Just by chance, could you tell me the difference between Utah coal and West Virginia coal?

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    July 2, 2014 10:54 p.m.

    Pops: ditto!

    July 2, 2014 10:13 p.m.

    @Open Minded Mormon

    Perhaps you didn't notice the record ozone "hole" - I believe it was last year. By far the major cause of ozone depletion is lack of sunlight. We can even see it happening almost every evening, as a significant portion of the blue of the sky after sunset is due to ozone converting back to O2. All it takes to create an ozone "hole" is Antarctic winter (no sunlight) and a polar vortex to prevent mixing, and it is inevitable that significant ozone depletion will naturally occur. Always has, always will. Freon was a red herring.

    I think that the biggest problem we have in cleaning up the environment is that most people can't distinguish between real problems and fake problems. Atmospheric CO2 is a fake problem. Other emissions from coal-burning plants are a real problem, but at least they have solutions in the form of scrubbers. If we really understood science and the environment, we would go nuclear in an instant and be done with it.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    July 2, 2014 5:33 p.m.

    The unspoken complaint of industry remains the same: "These changes will mean that we won't be quite as wealthy as we would if we could get rid of regulations and standards. We'll survive, of course, and make lots of money; just not quite as much."

    Coal needs to go, but to make the change, we need to get serious about other power sources, including pebble-bed reactors and liquid thorium reactors, both of which are incredibly safe.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 2, 2014 5:14 p.m.

    @Tyler D – “Let’s go with this number, which even this is likely low”

    Should have been “likely high”

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    July 2, 2014 5:04 p.m.

    Who isn't for clean? The problem is that climate change is akin to declaring that we need to cool the sun down. The clever politician will then ask for more tax dollars to deliver to a rat hole in Washington and then "reassure" us that they now will solve a hotter than normal sun! Climate change is not the same as the EPA! Let's let Washington prove that they can deliver on one promise before we let them loose on a fairy tale!

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    July 2, 2014 5:03 p.m.

    JoeCapitalist2 -

    " Both sides put out doomsday predictions whenever a bill or a regulation is considered."

    No . . . It is only the "Conservatives" who are given to ostentatious displays of fear and consternation, running around wild-eyed shouting the sky is falling.

    Everyone else is much more matter-of-fact and pragmatic.

    Liberals and Moderates first define the problem, propose and test the most likely solutions, and then implement one or more solutions . . . Unless "Conservatives" obstruct that implementation, which is most often the case now.

    Conservatives deal with problems differently.

    Conservatives ignore a problem as long as possible until it is completely out of hand. And then they do everything they can not to define that problem or recognize its cause (because "Conservatives" are usually the cause), and then they blame it on everybody else while they run around wild-eyed shouting the sky is falling.

    That's "Conservative" Standard Operating Procedure.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 2, 2014 4:44 p.m.

    @procuradorfiscal – “Estimates of the annual drag on our economy range from a tree-hugger low of $21B”

    Let’s go with this number, which even this is likely low given that no cost estimate takes into account innovations and all the creative ways businesses typically employ to make the cost of compliance as low as possible (as the acid rain and a whole host of other cases make clear).

    I’m always amazed at how little faith the Right has in business’ innovative capabilities.

    Anyhow, what you’re not accounting for is the benefits we have accrued from our regulations. Think of all the lives saved and the avoided healthcare costs not to mention the benefits of protecting the environment.

    What is a forest worth or a clean river? Sounds to you like not much…

    Or since it all seems to be about dollars and cents, what about the bee population whose massive decline is likely due to pesticides. What are they worth? Well according to farmers somewhere in the hundreds of billions.

    I’d guess we’re saving trillions after deducting for costs…

  • mcdugall Murray, UT
    July 2, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    @high school fan - I think 26 years is more than enough time to plan for a transition to cleaner methods of producing power.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 2, 2014 9:35 a.m.

    Please go see the strip mines in WV and Western PA. Go see the mess in ND and Alberta. What a profane, vulgar treatment of the planet. See it. Utah has a lot going for it, so why go down this path? A few pieces of silver that will go mostly out of state and be gone in a flash while the legacy will burden us forever?

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    July 2, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    Freon and the Hole in the Ozone layer was another economic doomsday prediction that conservatives failed as well...

    Face it, right-wing conservative have lost on almost every environmental issue and doomsday prediction since stopping hunting for whale for blubber would make Americans freeze in the dark...

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 2, 2014 7:58 a.m.

    "History tells us these doomsday predictions are always wrong."

    Welcome to the average political battle. Both sides put out doomsday predictions whenever a bill or a regulation is considered. Such tactics are about the only way to get the attention of the media and voters.

    This article points out the failure of those doomsday predictions by the energy industry, but there are just as many false doomsday predictions by the environmentalists on the other side. (Wasn't Miami supposed to be under water by now?) Alarmist from the global warming crowd, the green energy crowd, and the anti-energy of all types crowd never met a doomsday prediction from their side that they didn't like. Who cares if there is a shred of truth in it as long as money and power flows their way!

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 2, 2014 7:40 a.m.

    Re: "History tells us these doomsday predictions are always wrong."

    Only re-interpreted liberal history tells us that. It's called newspeak, though it's not really new. It's been standard disingenuous liberal fare for a hundred years and more.

    Today's American economy and competitiveness is severely affected by the Clean Air, Clean Water, National Environmental Policy, Endangered Species, Resource Conservation and Recovery, and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Acts, along with the millions of pages of radical liberal regulations promulgated under them.

    Estimates of the annual drag on our economy range from a tree-hugger low of $21B, to a more median $216B, to something approaching a trillion, taking into account the effects of tree-hugger-caused tax distortions, revenue recycling, untoward capital accumulations, and the uneven, often corrupt and punitive distribution of compliance costs on some of the most productive elements of the economy.

    Crushing environmental compliance costs are unsustainable. Combined with other liberal vote-buying scams they must, soon or late, bring down the American economy.

    They can't honestly be dismissed as wrong, just because their admittedly certain occurrence is still in the future.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    July 2, 2014 6:56 a.m.

    Great column.

    Being reflexively opposed to any type of governmental regulation is in our DNA, as Americans, and works against us, sometimes.

    Before the cases cited, the EPA, implemented by Republican president Richard Nixon, sought to reduce of the levels of lead in children - a known cause of learning disabilities - and mandated a switch to unleaded gasoline.

    The reaction from Detroit was very strong, and predictable. These onerous regulations would not only devastate the US automobile industry, they'd have disastrous effects for the American economy.

    Detroit was bound to see serious economic decline, but, ironically, (in part) because of how they reacted to the EPA regulations.

    Rather than complain about the EPA and warn of dire consequences, Japanese car makers accepted the regulation change, innovated new ways to comply with the EPA mandate, and used the opportunity to expand market share in the US. (Also instrumental in the Japanese success were the quality improvement ideas of W. Edwards Deming, a statistician from Wyoming who had been rebuffed by Detroit executives).

    Moral of the story: if you expend your energies whining and complaining about new rules, your competition may eat your lunch.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    July 2, 2014 6:46 a.m.

    "Rep. Chris Stewart said, “the costs of this new regulation will be paid for by you and me in the form of increased power bills.”

    Here is the ironic issue hidden in all this. Everyone is focusing on what coal does to the air, but here in North Carolina we are learning another secret, that there is yet another "cost" of using coal to generate power. North Carolina recently had a Coal Ash Pond break its containment. Now just about no one here had heard of one of these ponds before. These are the locations where spent coal is dumped as a by product.

    The North Carolina legislature is now wresting with who is going to pay the over 1 Billion dollar bill to clean these unfunded and unaccounted for coal ash sites. Of course Duke Energy just wants to pass it on as an expense to the rate payers. The utilities commission is saying "not so fast". Either way, there is a huge bill yet to be paid.

    Burning coal for power has far more "hidden" cost then most are aware of... and it isn't just in what goes up the smoke stacks.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 2, 2014 6:42 a.m.

    Utah has a problem, and our leadership is bought and paid for by those profiting off the problem. Next winter, when the inversions are thick, take a deep breath and ask yourself, do I want to keep breathing this? What does it take, folks?

  • trapdinutah South Jordan, UT
    July 2, 2014 6:35 a.m.

    "Such predictions rarely come true?" Well, this will be that rare time when they do. EPA, the enviros, and the current administration want to eliminate coal-fired power plants in our lifetime. We are converting everything to natural gas because there is what some consider a "limitless" supply of gas. But those same enviros are also trying to stop fracking - which is why we have that "limitless" gas. Take away fracking, we'll run out of gas. Even with fracking, as more and more power plants start running on gas, the competition of gas goes up - and so do the prices. It has and will continue to happen.

    And, as for the environmental benefit - PacifiCorp, like CalEdison, will continue to sell retired coal fired power plants to China (but not the pollution control equipment), and they will be torn down here and rebuilt there. Our coal miners will still work shipping all the coal we can dig - to China. There, in China, Utah power plants will be burning Utah coal to fuel the modernization of China, dumping more pollution into the air, which will all blow back to Utah. And our total energy costs will still go up.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 2, 2014 6:15 a.m.

    They made the same whining cries over burning your trash, vaccinations, lead in paint and gasoline, tobacco, and Federally mandated "emission controls" or "California emission standards" were added to all vehicles.

    BooHoo! [over nothing, and except a better world]

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 2, 2014 5:06 a.m.

    Meanwhile today,
    in this very "newspaper" --

    The Deseret News says that digging up TARS SANDS is a time that has come!

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    July 2, 2014 4:38 a.m.

    Here is the problem that this author doesn't want to talk about, Utah's coal fired power plants have been given a death sentence by the current administration. In the year 2040 they will go off line and it doesn't matter how much they do or do not pollute Utah's air.
    The question then for the place I live is what supports us, where do we work. The answer is no body cares. The question for you is where do you get electricity? Windmills and solar will only go so far.
    Your air in the wasatch front is not a result of Utah's power plants so when it comes to healing Utah, you are barking up the wrong tree. Coal is just an easy prey.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    July 2, 2014 12:48 a.m.

    As long as the Republican Party is owned by the Koch Brothers, there will be lots of pollution doomsday prophecies coming from Republicans.

    Tight, controlled messaging has become a hallmark of the Koch Brothers efforts to protect their profits.