Readers comments 5.30.12
A good thing
Regarding the Sumner School kerfuffle, it is a good thing that Sumner School Principal Frank D’Emilio didn’t call in Department of Child and Family Services.
DCFS would have assigned blame, held a sham team decision-making meeting, removed the child from the home and put her into foster care, and ordered the parents to take a parenting class and get therapy before (maybe) returning the child.
Frequently asked questions
I was interested to find in my bill from Golden State Water Company a sheet listing “Frequently asked questions,” but I was surprised that the list did not contain the most frequently asked question in Claremont: “Why does water cost more here than in many local communities?”
SB 1364 is political spin
Maybe election year rhetoric is starting to get to me, but I can’t let the irony of last Saturday’s Viewpoint pass without comment. The theme of the article “Golden State Water Supports Senate Bill 1364” was self-serving and misleading, hardly exhibiting the utility’s stated commitment to honest communications.
This article leaves those who are not familiar with SB 1364 with the impression that ratepayers and communities are benefiting from the collaborative efforts of the city of Claremont and Golden State to increase the transparency of all public water suppliers.
However, the legislation sponsored by the city back on February 24th is far different from the April 30th watered-down amended bill that Golden State now supports.
SB 1364, as introduced, would have required water utilities to notify their customers of the outcome of general rate cases, not just of the requested increase that is made more than a year earlier. SB 1364, as introduced, would have encouraged municipalities to become more actively involved in general rate cases by allowing them to seek reimbursement for the reasonable costs of effective participation.
SB 1364, as introduced, would have restricted the use of advice letters (simplified applications that do not require evidentiary hearings) to request certain rate increases. SB 1364, as introduced, would have expanded judicial review of CPUC decisions to the appellate courts, not just to the state supreme court. Each of these provisions has been stripped from the bill, and for valid reasons in my opinion. In short, however, the current version of the SB 1364 substantially maintains the status quo, doing little to increase transparency and accountability.
Honest communications among Golden State, the city and the citizens of Claremont are especially important these days. Merely refraining from telling outright lies does not constitute honest communications. Trust is earned over time but can be quickly lost through political spin and half-truths.
Hopefully, these elements of last Saturday’s article were merely an oversight and not indicative of a much more serious communications problem.
The reality of global warming
The support of the scientific community of the reality of global warming is so strong, contrary to a recent Viewpoint published on March 17, that this extremely important reality needs to be stated with no doubt that it is nearly unanimous.
The scientific consensus, as described in the journal Science, is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth’s climate is being affected by human activities, due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.
In recent years, all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members’ expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements, for example, the National Academy of Sciences, which reports that “The IPCC’s conclusion accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue.”
The American Meteorological Society, The American Geophysical Union, and the the American Association for the Advancement of Science all have issued statements in recent years concluding that the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling. Scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC. There is a scientific consensus on the reality of climate change due to human activity. Some estimate this consensus as 97 percent of the world’s climate scientists.
Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, stated on May 10, 2012 in the New York Times, “Global warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening...If we continue to burn our conventional oil, gas and coal supplies, concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now...Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable...Civilization would be at risk.
“The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen from 280 parts per million to 393 ppm [parts per million] over the last 150 years...If we don’t phase out our addiction to fossil fuels, there is no hope of keeping carbon concentrations below 500 ppm—a level that would. as earth’s history shows, leave our children a climate system that is out of their control...The science of the situation is clear—it’s time for the politics to follow...If this sounds apocalyptic, it is.”
The levels of carbon dioxide have varied only between 180 and 300 ppm over the last 800,000 years—until recent decades, with it now at 387 ppm.
You would have to go back at least 15 million years to find carbon dioxide levels on Earth as high as they are today, a UCLA scientist and colleagues reported in 2009 in Science.
At that time, “global temperatures were 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than they are today, and the sea level was approximately 75 to 120 feet higher than today,” said A. Tripati, a UCLA assistant professor in the department of Earth and space sciences and the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences. “Carbon dioxide is an important agent for driving climate change throughout Earth’s history,” she said. “We report evidence for a very close coupling between carbon dioxide levels and climate.”
Global temperature, carbon dioxide levels, and the sea level have been changing in parallel over these last 15 million years. Conservation is not enough. We defer decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide going into our atmosphere at an increasing peril to every one of us, most so to all of our grandchildren.