News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

June 30, 2013

Readers’ Forum: June 30, 2013

TERRE HAUTE — Global warming

is fact, not fraud


I want to respond to Thomas Tucker regarding his June 16 letter about “global warming fraud.”

Thomas: The earth is round, not flat. The earth orbits the sun, not vice versa. Global warming and the concept that human activity contributes to global warming are facts, not “fraud.” Scientists have nothing to gain by stating that global warming is occurring. There is no “political agenda” on the part of climate scientists.

On the other hand, the mega corporations who are involved in selling carbon-based energies have a huge financial stake in denying global warming, which their products contribute to. Having said that, however, you’ve probably noticed large advertising campaigns in all major media lately by big oil companies expounding how they are concerned about the environment and are working to produce cleaner energy. In other words, even the major sources of carbon pollution are being forced to admit that there really is a problem!

Thomas, you make the common but serious mistake of latching on to one person or one study and then projecting those conclusions to be proven scientific fact. I would recommend you look at a very extensive new study conducted by the team of John Cook and Dana Nuccitelli, as reported by the Washington post on May 18, 2013.

In this study, researchers sifted through almost 12,000 climate-related research study abstracts written over the past 20 years. They found that a full 97 percent of those studies concluded that global warming is a serious problem, and that humans contribute to global warming. That is an awfully strong consensus.

Furthermore, there has been agreement among climate researchers for quite some time that anything above 350 parts-per-million (ppm) of carbon in the atmosphere is “incompatible with life.” In other words, when we pass 350 ppm of carbon, all creation doesn’t suddenly drop dead, but it is on a downward slope toward destruction. Not only have we passed the 350 ppm threshold, but recent measurements at climate stations in Hawaii have measured 400 ppm for the first time. Not only is global warming happening, but it is increasing at a much faster rate than was anticipated.

Finally, I implore everyone to look into both sides of the issue before coming to a conclusion on such an important matter. You can find more facts at websites like www.SkepticalScience.com, www.IPCC.ch (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), and www.350.org, a grassroots organization started by a concerned Christian whose goal is to disseminate accurate information about caring for creation.

— Richard Kennel, Ph.D, HSPP

Terre Haute

More to learn

about new plant at Edwardsport

Now that Duke Energy’s Edwardsport IGCC is allegedly “commercial” as of June 7, it’s once again time to set the record straight and fill in the blanks. For over seven years now, Duke and the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission have conveniently left out information they prefer the public not be told, as perhaps the truth is too inconvenient.

Duke, along with the IURC, continues to perpetuate the myth that the plant will result in just a 14.5 percent rate increase. The reality is that this 14.5 percent represents only a portion of the financing costs for the project. Additional financing costs of at least $320M, as well as the actual construction costs currently capped at $2.595B, are not included. That’s right, nearly $3B yet to be accounted for and ultimately coming from ratepayer pocketbooks.

That 14.5 percent only represents the approximately $665M in Construction Work in Progress charges, or CWIP, a tracker or extra fee tacked onto the bill of captive Duke ratepayers. How much more will monthly bills increase after the other $3B is factored into rates? Ask Duke or the IURC … see if you can get a straight answer.

Duke is already collecting approximately $30M/month from ratepayers just for financing costs. In fact, Duke ratepayers will pay more just for the financing charges for the Edwardsport fiasco than Indianapolis Power & Light is seeking in total for their proposed natural gas plant in Morgan County, a plant that will produce approximately the same amount of power.

Duke claims its construction costs are capped at $2.595B, but that isn’t accurate. Duke declared the plant “in-service” on June 7, which effectively marks the end of this so-called “cost cap” from the settlement. From this date forward, ratepayers can potentially be stuck with every dollar Duke spends on the plant, and there remains a lengthy “punch list” of items that are yet to be completed. So, the settlement effectively exposes consumers to the potential of significant costs outside of the cap, which was intended to protect them.

Lastly, it needs to be understood that the IURC has declined to protect consumers from a white elephant by refusing to place any operational or performance requirements on the Edwardsport IGCC plant. Despite this plant being a first of its kind technology, never built or operated at this scale anywhere in the world, if it doesn’t work or operates at less than the 85 percent capacity factor that Duke opined the plant will achieve, Duke ratepayers are stuck with the bill, no questions asked. As long as the plant runs for even a minute, Duke gets the full amount as allowed under the settlement.

With Duke already collecting over $30 million/month from customers for this plant which is already two years behind schedule, Duke indicates it will be another 15 months before the plant is expected to have its “long-term level of availability” — whatever that means. Duke has been less than forthcoming every step of the way with this boondoggle … why should anyone believe them now?

— Kerwin Olson

Executive Director Citizens Action Coalition

Indianapolis

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