Letter: A dirty fact – Great Falls Tribune, April 16, 2013

April 16, 2013

Categories: Clean Energy, Climate change, Coal, Letters


The letter to the editor submitted by Larry Bonderud, the good mayor of Shelby, concerning expanded coal use and the prosperity it will bring to Montana, requires a response. Coal-fired generating plants, wherever these are, and the jobs and taxes these mines and railroads produce are certainly attractive. However, there’s a dirty fact; these plants are one of the major causes of greenhouse gases, the major one being CO2, which by steadily warming our planet are causing climate change. Farm Futures magazine is now counseling farmers that “global climate change is already affecting global crop production.”

Unfortunately, the acceptance of climate change is causing extreme rancor on the political scene. Republicans are ignoring the problem and Democrats, being in the minority in the Montana Legislature, are powerless to effect legislation. The same goes for the U.S. Congress, although President Barack Obama understands the problem. It may well take a Pearl Harbor level of storm disaster to shock the nation into action.

Coal isn’t the only guilty fuel as all fossil fuels contribute to atmospheric CO2, whether used for transportation of goods and people, air conditioning and heating in buildings, agriculture or industry, etc. Worldwide, Americans are the most energy gluttonous per capita. We must promote CO2 mitigation at home and in our foreign policy, for that’s the new war. We’ve met the enemy, and he’s us.

The challenge now is to go full-bore on clean energy and conservation, but we can make it exciting and, finally, a new national purpose.

Arlo Skari

220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154