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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 8, 2014 at 6:51 AM

Climate change: Coal use and ocean acidification in the spotlight

This coal-to-gas plant built by Datang International is the first of its kind in Inner Mongolia. It creates methane that can be piped to Beijing, where it can be used as a cleaner burning fuel to reduce air pollution. But the plant itself can send out quite a stench. (Hal Bernton / The Seattle Times)

Coal use doesn’t need to be fatalistic

The energy investments of the fast-growing Asian economies are do-or-die decisions for the global climate [“China’s coal solution has carbon downside across globe,” News, May 4]. This is why our local battle against coal exports is so vital.

Shoveling cheap coal to Asia increases the economic incentives to continue building more coal plants, “locking in” carbon emissions that wreak climate havoc on all of us.

In China, as in the U.S., there is a robust debate about the energy future, and momentum is building for a clean energy revolution, powered by efficient use of carbon-free energy sources. But The Seattle Times’ article ends with a fatalistic prognosis from a coal-mining executive in China: “I firmly believe that coal is going to be the main generating source of energy at least for the next 50 years.”

Well, of course he does; he represents the coal industry. It’s a bit like ending an article on the future of honey by asking a bee whether honey is a good idea.

K.C. Golden, senior policy adviser at Climate Solutions, Seattle

Climate change deserves to be front-page news

The Seattle Times’ front-page news on ocean acidification was both a relief and a source of real tears in this readers’ eyes [“Acidification eating away at tiny sea snails,” April 30].

It is a relief to finally see our dear planet’s health squarely right where it belongs, and a tragedy that ocean acidification is worse than scientists thought. The food chain is interrupted. This would be shocking, even if it were not also a human-interest story.

Please keep putting earth reports on the front page. A Boston paper I saw from 1770 had the prices of corn and wheat on its front page in the same corner each day.

Our 2014 Seattle paper could set a long-needed example for all other news sources by making a priority of the planet with a special section right on the front page. Much more urgent than a stock market report.

Linda Peragine, Seattle

Comments | More in Climate change | Topics: climate change, coal, K.C. Golden

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