Lights on, no one home
Your article made clear that renewable energy is sufficiently advanced, both technologically and economically, to begin replacing hazardous electricity sources ("N.C.'s Best Kept Secret," June 30). As indicated, a key barrier is the utilities, whose power plants are major sources of choking air pollution and 42 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
However, the transition to sustainability is impossible without widespread reduction in energy consumption. Progress Energy and Duke aren't threatened by renewables because they represent only a slight flattening of the utilities' growth curve--a projected 50 percent rise in electricity generation over 20 years, primarily fossil and nuclear fuels.
There is broad scientific consensus that global climate change is occurring more rapidly than expected. The media has largely ignored the impact on this state, where droughts and intense storms have increased significantly. Experts from area universities warn that weather extremes are likely to continue worsening. Suffering will increase as air quality deteriorates with rising temperatures, tropical diseases spread, water systems fail, and beaches disappear due to rising sea levels and storm surge.
Duke's environmental dean, Dr. William Schlesinger, said, "I believe we have a relatively small window of opportunity, maybe 15 years [to reduce greenhouse emissions]."
Global warming is upon us, but it might still be reversible. For 20 years, society has disregarded experts in energy efficiency and building design who have shown that energy usage can be dramatically reduced with practical measures that cut air pollution and save money. Compact fluorescent light bulbs, for example, are now inexpensive, use 75 percent less power, last many years, and are even sold at drugstores.
We also must change the regional mindset of energy over-usage--such as promotional lighting in the middle of the night and freezing businesses in summertime.
The solutions--smart usage and clean production--create jobs, are good for business, and protect against growing instabilities in the electricity grid.
For anyone doubting the urgency of climate change, see a map of North Carolina's disappearing coastline at www.ncwarn.org/PowerReduction/TheAlarmingTruthAboutGlobalWarming.pdf
Exeturive Director, NC WARN
Libertarian left out
AAARGH! How many times do I have to send a letter to the editor or make a phone call to a news station to get them to acknowledge there is an anti-war choice on the ballot! The article by Geary ("A nuanced stand--or are they waffling?" July 21) makes it sound as if those of us who were against the Iraq war from the beginning must vote for Kerry as a "lesser of two evils." But we don't! Libertarian Michael Badnarik has been against the war from the get-go. And Badnarik will be on the ballot in North Carolina (and probably in every other state as well, the only third party candidate to do that). The Libertarians are a "major" party in North Carolina, just like the Dems and Publicans. We have a primary, we have a state convention--you can even register as a Libertarian in this fine state. There are more than two options! Please start covering them! Go to www.badnarik.org for more info on Michael Badnarik for president. Go to www.lpnc.org for more info on the N.C. Libertarian party.
I was appalled to read about the treatment of Joey Wade at the hands of the system, but I do have what seems to be a very simple question: Why is no one protesting the charge of assault on a female against Jeffrey Miller? If Joey Wade is male, then the charge should be assault. While it is true that assault on a female carries stiffer penalties, using that charge constitutes an "admission" that Joey is female. Either the charge should be assault on a female with a note that Joey Wade is female--or the charge should be assault with a note that Joey Wade is male. You can't have it both ways just for the sake of a stiffer penalty.
Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification; we cannot publish a letter without confirmation from the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.