As folks travel around or become more informed on the U.S. progress being made in climate-control technology, become aware of these happenings. You don’t have to travel very far in southern Minnesota or northern Iowa to see many wind tower farms generating electricity with virtually no climate-damaging pollution. Solar farms also generating electricity are popping up all over, with new ones just starting up locally at Rochester, Claremont and Mapleton, Minn. Of course, the Corn Belt is dotted with ethanol plants producing more than 10 percent of our liquid fuel needs, which is a much more friendly environmental fuel than that from crude oil. New technology has opened up vast amounts of natural gas, which is also cleaner burning and will ultimately replace coal and crude oil. Farmers, the trucking industry and the heavy-equipment construction trade are investing vast sums of money in improved technology engines that burn a product called DEF (diesel emissions fluid) that greatly cuts the polluting emissions from these engines. Our nation’s annual corn crop of 90 million acres is renowned in ag country for taking the carbon from the air and placing it in the soil. All growing plants, trees included, do the same thing.
I agree with President Trump that the U.S. will continue to lead the world in cleaner air technology. So to me, as well as the president, the Paris climate accord is not all that important in our country continuing to invest vast sums of research and capital in the clean-air initiative. Any citizen who has the resources to invest in clean-air technology or projects should do so instead of bashing President Trump. As the old saying goes, if you want cleaner air, put your money where your mouth is.
Mark S. Nowak, Wells, Minn.
• • •
I appreciate that the Sunday Star Tribune included the article “Behind the GOP climate about-face,” because I found the paper’s initial coverage and editorial comments about Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement very misleading. It presented big business as united in support of the agreement. Yes, many CEOs of major corporations recently and very publicly called for Trump to stay in the Paris accord. However, as described by Jane Mayer in her book “Dark Money,” there have also been long-term efforts by major fossil-fuel corporations and their billionaire owners (such as the Koch brothers) to discredit climate science by pouring vast amounts of money, often hidden from public view, into think tanks, political campaigns and campaigns to mislead the public. Citizens need to be aware of the role played by these powerful business interests that continue to pressure government to step back from our national commitment to reduce greenhouse gases.
Davida J. Alperin, St. Paul
• • •
In the U.S. Defense Department’s quadrennial review in 2014, military experts said that global warming represented a critical threat to U.S. national security. And while many critics of Trump’s Paris pullout have pointed out that increasing greenhouse gases will aggravate stressors on poverty and other social conditions that serve as a breeding ground for new generations of terrorists, they missed an important conclusion of the Defense Review that is a truly “America First” critique of President Trump. That same Defense Review said that global warming was a direct threat to U.S. and overseas bases and other installations we use to protect America.
A 2015 follow-up study by the Union of Concerned Scientists (“The U.S. Military on the Front Lines of Rising Seas”), reported on by Reuters in 2015, said: “Faster rates of sea level rises in the second half of this century could mean that tidal flooding will become a daily occurrence for some installations, pushing usable land needed for military training and testing into tidal zones ... and four of those — including the Naval Air Station in Key West, Florida, and the Marine Corps recruit depot in South Carolina — could lose between 75 and 95 percent of their land in this century.”
If the president is really listening to his generals, and is truly concerned about placing our brave men and women in harm’s way — putting America’s servicemen and women first — he would not have pulled out of the Paris Agreement.
James V. Gambone, Orono
• • •
Trump has single-handedly undone American participation in the Paris Agreement, citing, among other things, its alleged short-term negative impact on U.S. coal production. Given his courting of American “evangelicals,” I’m surprised he didn’t turn to the Bible for support. His text is right there in the book of Isaiah. King Hezekiah (otherwise a biblical good guy), was threatened by God that utter destruction was to fall upon Israel. (Read: the effects of global warming?) However, since that destruction was to come not now but sometime in the future (“days are coming”), Hezekiah responds with the biblical equivalent of Alfred E. Neuman’s famous question in Mad magazine — “What, me worry?” — saying to himself, “There will be peace and security in my days” (Isaiah 39:8).
Frederick Gaiser, Falcon Heights
The writer is an emeritus professor of the Old Testament at Luther Seminary.
ART AND HISTORY
What can be learned, and how
The June 4 Star Tribune could rightly be termed “the free-speech issue.” I read with great interest the opinion pieces by Edward J. Cleary and D.J. Tice, and the letter from Judith Guest, all powerful statements in defense of the right to free expression of difficult, controversial or even noxious ideas. Little did I realize what awaited me in the Variety section. The Flaten Art Museum at St. Olaf College is engaged in a project to preserve Nazi propaganda posters for study and eventual exhibition. One would be hard-pressed to find uglier artifacts of a more poisonous ideology. Such graphic evidence of one of history’s most atrocious chapters should not be forgotten or suppressed, and might even play some small part in creating the awareness needed to avoid a repetition.
Dan Beck, Minneapolis
• • •
I find it hard to understand why the “Scaffold” sculpture promoted by the Walker Art Center before protests led to its dismantling was considered art in the first place, but I’m willing to play this game. I came up with an idea where I’ll dump a load of taconite tailings in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and call it “The Triumph of Miles Lord.” That should establish me as an artist and make me a large chunk of change at the same time! Come on, folks — this was a simple reproduction of a historical object that has no intrinsic value as a piece of art.
At the same time, no one can suggest the topic wasn’t a seminal event in the history of our state. If you feel the need to learn more about the subjugation of the American Indian, there are many historical sites across the state that speak to their conflict with the European settlers. Should you choose to visit one of these sites, I guarantee you will be both saddened and enlightened by the time you leave. It’s a lovely drive down Hwy. 169 to St. Peter to visit the Treaty Site History Center. The Minnesota History Center in St. Paul is even more convenient to most Minnesotans.
Dale Jernberg, Minneapolis
This, detractors, is the value
The value of organic products nationwide is more than $40 billion. Perhaps the writer of the June 4 letter “Organic farming: No value proposition” is unfamiliar with the free-enterprise system we have in the U.S. and believes that organic farmers should not meet that demand in the marketplace. One of the great values of organic food is what is not in it. Some people choose not to eat farm chemicals at every meal, even a little bit. The letter writer is welcome to buy and consume anything he pleases.
Greg Reynolds, Delano, Minn.