Letter: We need to take better care of the earth

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  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    Aug. 15, 2018 5:29 a.m.

    @Baron:

    "Today, we have a new menace. "

    No, they were always there.

    Except now we are filtering out all of the bigger stuff, the really small stuff is what's left, and it's more noticeable. (Kind of like you can't hear the birds outside if your TV is at full volume inside. Turn off the TV and you'll hear the birds.)

    I won't claim that we shouldn't work to make air cleaner, or that some people won't live better or longer if we do.

    I might claim that there are better ways we could spend our money to improve more people's lives more significantly.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Aug. 14, 2018 7:47 p.m.

    The claim that "Utah air is cleaner than in the past 50 or 100 years" is really a cop out. The issue is that we have new pollutants. Yes, when we burned coal to heat our homes, we had bad air. Today, we have a new menace.

    In Utah, it is the PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 microns) that are the problem because they are so small, they get into our lungs and bloodstream to damage our internal organs. It is a significant problem today -- mostly from cars idling, but also from buildings (burning of natural gas and wood burning) and agriculture.

    Don't be complacent. Air pollution is a major problem in Utah -- either during winter inversion season or summer fire season. Don't idle your car. Carpool or tripchain. Drive an electric vehicle. Don't burn wood in the winter. We do have control over some things that contribute to our pollution.

    I found it interesting that suddenly air quality mattered this past week when BYU couldn't practice football because of a red air day... perhaps if we have more outdoor activities banned due to air pollution, people might take action.

  • jsf Centerville, UT
    Aug. 14, 2018 1:37 p.m.

    Al Gore said this past week, climate policies have not changed significantly under the Trump administration. Last week the epa reported Salt Lake city's air quality is better than anytime before.

    So take the GOP and Trump out of the discussion, they are not against clean air like the liberal progressives claim. Blaming a group for something that is not true is equivalent to blood libel. It was used by churches in medieval Europe to create an anti-Semitic atmosphere of hate and fear. Democrats use it for the same purpose, to create fear and hate based on lies and untruths.

    The other fact the letter writer is not acknowledging is his asthma may becoming worse due to age. Adult onset asthma occurs often to people in their 50's and 60's. Since his is getting worse when air quality is improving, I would argue it is age related.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 14, 2018 9:17 a.m.

    I agreed with almost everything you said. But then you said

    "Doesn’t God command us to take care of each other and to be good stewards of this precious, irreplaceable earth?"

    To which I would say no, that was some dude with his hand out claiming he talked to a god for which there isnt any evidence.

    We need to take care of the earth because none of the thousands of deities humans have invented are going to do it for us.

  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    Aug. 14, 2018 8:19 a.m.

    I don't live in UT, so I can't comment directly on atmospheric quality there, but it's a scientifically verifiable fact that air quality has gotten a lot better over the past 50 years throughout the country as a whole.

    Don't believe me? Go look at the EPA's 2016 report. It's available on the EPA website, using search term "Overview of the Clean Air Act."

    "That is why we don't use aging lungs to measure pollution."

    I agree. We should use data, not anecdotes, to measure progress.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Aug. 14, 2018 7:08 a.m.

    To "Brave Sir Robin" yes. When man was not around there were periods that were colder than it is currently. Man did not exist, therefore he could not add CO2 to the atmosphere to effect a change in the climate. So, using that as a baseline for what would happen if man made emissions ceased, lets see what scientists say would happen.

    According to Princeton University's study "How the ice ages ended (Nature)" the ice ages that the Earth has undergone have all ended, and they did so naturally.

    Or do you deny science, and say that the Earth has never had its climate change.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Aug. 13, 2018 9:48 p.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin: "Interesting how you try to link two things that have nothing to do with each other."

    I did no such thing. Pollution from industry activity along the Wasatch Front has greatly declined over the last 50 years.

    "The fact that we have cleaner air is due to stronger emissions standards (industrial and automotive)."

    We have cleaner air due to both economics and EPA standards. It is still legal to heat homes with coal furnaces. I know someone in SLCo who does. But most have long since moved to Natural Gas. It is cheaper and more convenient.

    Similarly, moving from small, local, coal-fired power plants to larger regional plants reduces pollution. Natural Gas plants are more economical. Coal plants have lower emissions due to EPA requirements.

    Economics closed Geneva Steel.

    EPA regs improved average gas mileage some 300% (10mpg to 30+mpg) between 1970 and 2010. Also removed lead from gasoline.

    Insulating homes saves money, and reduces emissions from heating/cooling them.

    Fact is, my lungs are more sensitive than they were 50 years ago. That is why we don't use aging lungs to measure pollution. Science says the air is cleaner than anytime in last 100 years.

  • batfink Australia, 00
    Aug. 13, 2018 9:25 p.m.

    Ahh yes, harp on continually so as to amplify the problem in the minds of others then when the easily convinced believe in your sincerity they will agree to apply pure Marxism that masquerades as a plan to fix the earth of whatever problem you have convinced them is real.

    Well, for starters lets not forget that only 40 years ago scientists were telling us that there is an approaching ice age which would turn our habitable lands into something resembling the antarctic.
    That means that the globe heating up now is actually abating the coming ice age- stalling it and nullifying the gradual drop in temperatures it would surely bring.

    Secondly, the push to destroy coal, gas and nuclear power plants and replace them with solar panels -as has sadly been accomplished in South Australia- leaves a massive shortfall of power in the grid when the sun doesn't shine. That's right- the sun doesn't always shine regardless of what the 'impending climate doom' fear mongers claim.
    In 1815 the volcano Tambora erupted in Indonesia and it blocked the sun across the USA for 2 whole years.

    We live in age of increased geological activity, NOT decreased. Tis only a matter of time...

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Aug. 13, 2018 8:28 p.m.

    @RedShirtHarvard

    "You do realize that even if we eliminated all emissions that the climate would still be changing at roughly its current rate."

    I'm certain you have peer-reviewed, published data to support that claim, right? And you wouldn't mind telling us where we can find it, right? I'll wait...

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 13, 2018 5:45 p.m.

    @Bob Nelson "But my lungs tell me the air is getting worse. Like it or not, we’re all helping the earth to heat up at a terrifying pace."

    Your lungs might be conflating particulates with carbon dioxide -- a colorless, odorless gas.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Aug. 13, 2018 4:38 p.m.

    To "Brave Sir Robin" but we are not having more frequent fires. The size of the fires is due to what researchers call the "Smokey Bear Effect." What that means is that thanks to all of the environmentalist protections that have been put into the forest lands, there is more fuel on the ground. Global warming is involved only because the trees grow faster and larger, and thus generate more fuel which never gets cleared out.

    You do realize that even if we eliminated all emissions that the climate would still be changing at roughly its current rate.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Aug. 13, 2018 4:00 p.m.

    @NoNamesAccepted

    "Excepting short term issues this summer due to wildfires in Cali which are a result of bad land management on the part of the feds, Utah air is cleaner than at any time in the past 100+ years."

    Interesting how you try to link two things that have nothing to do with each other. Larger and more frequent wildfires, which are a result of poor forestry management and climate change, have nothing to do with air quality in the Salt Lake valley, which is the result of industrial and automotive pollution.

    The fact that we have cleaner air is due to stronger emissions standards (industrial and automotive). In spite of that, climate change is still a thing.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Aug. 13, 2018 2:11 p.m.

    Excepting short term issues this summer due to wildfires in Cali which are a result of bad land management on the part of the feds, Utah air is cleaner than at any time in the past 100+ years.

    That is what the science tells us.

    It is not consistent to demand we listen to science when that backs up your personal views, but then turning to personal experience or ancedotal claims when science contradicts personal positions.

    We all want clean air. But SL was the Valley of Smoke before Brigham Young ever arrived. It may never be an ideal home for those with severe pulminary sensitivities.

  • SMcloud Sandy, UT
    Aug. 13, 2018 1:46 p.m.

    There isn't a "clean air" lobby that is donating to congress - there is only us.

    If you want to see change, you need to vote people in who believe that pollution is a problem.

  • silo Sandy, UT
    Aug. 13, 2018 1:07 p.m.

    @what in tucket
    "Germany as an example has had to go back to more coal and gas. Wind and solar are a total waster of money."

    100% false.

    Per data from ag-energiebilanzen, Germany continues to reduce consumption of coal and gas, just as they have for the past 15 years.

    And renewables continue to be the largest source of energy production in Germany, just has it has been for the past several years.

    If you have data that backs up your claims, and counters the data from ag-energiebilanzen, feel free to post it.

    We'll wait.

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Aug. 13, 2018 12:56 p.m.

    Ok, to those of you that say we need to cut our CO2 emissions, please do something that even Al Gore has not done. Actually cut your emissions.

    If we do as all of the liberals want, what is liberal solution for affordable transportation? What about affordable electricity? What about the toxic chemicals used to make solar panels and wind turbines?

    We understand that you want cleaner air, but what is your plan? You sound like children who want to go to Disneyland, but don't have a plan of how to get there.

    Please, give us a realistic plan, and we will go there hand in hand.

  • ConservativeCommonTater West Valley City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2018 12:47 p.m.

    Diligent Dave

    "I would suggest you get the likes of China to clean up their air. They may more likely be your air polluting culprits!"

    Yes, you're right, heaven forbid that we do anything locally to help clean up the air. It's someone else's responsibility, not ours! Burn more coal locally, that will show those Chinese polluters.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Aug. 13, 2018 7:53 a.m.

    " Doesn’t God command us to take care of each other and to be good stewards of this precious, irreplaceable earth?"

    True.

    But Republicans tell us that profits are more important than anything God says.

    And donald has assured us that all that warming is really a yuge Chinese hoax.

    So does God know more than they do?

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Aug. 13, 2018 7:35 a.m.

    Not too many years ago, a large inversion of smog in South Carolina was identified as drifting there all the way from China.

    So, what your lungs may be informing you, may be air pollution created overseas, and drifting here!

    A brother-in-law & a sister-in-law of mine who returned this summer from a BYU program supplying teachers who teach English to university students in China, where they taught 5 years ago, caused both of them severe lung problems there this last academic year, which cleared up for them after some weeks being back home in Lehi.

    I would suggest you get the likes of China to clean up their air. They may more likely be your air polluting culprits!

  • Utefan60 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 13, 2018 6:06 a.m.

    We will never protect our environment as long as the GOP has control. The mess they have made of the EPA, our National and sacred Monuments, The Paris Climate Accord, and the repeal of dozens of regulations that are allowing our environment to be polluted. Now asbestos?

    All reported in this paper, and the Associated Press, CNN and other reputable news outlets..

    Environment and climate change issues can not happen as long as the Koch Brothers and the Extraction Industries have a choke hold on the GOP members. And we have this man in the White House that is so self absorbed as to relegate our health and environment to the back burner.

    Our environment is suffering severe damage due to that political party. Period.

  • What in Tucket Provo, UT
    Aug. 13, 2018 5:24 a.m.

    Mr. Trump dropped out of the Paris climate accords to the severe uprising of the media. So how are emissions vs the climate accord folks: lower. We have done much better as we have gone to more natural gas power. Germany as an example has had to go back to more coal and gas. Wind and solar are a total waster of money.

    If you wish to have zero pollutants the only answer is nuclear power.

  • Dart Thrower Ogden, UT
    Aug. 12, 2018 9:53 p.m.

    A recent study showed that humans, their pets and livestock constitute 94% of the mammal biomass on the planet. There are simply too many people consuming too many resources.

  • Black Knight American Fork, UT
    Aug. 12, 2018 9:21 p.m.

    As a former Californian, I strongly recommend that Utah should never do anything that California does.