Finally, some bold leadership on climate change (“Walz sets 2050 carbon-free goal,” March 5). After recent news about President Donald Trump’s internal working group tasked with refuting established climate science, Gov. Tim Walz’s goal is a breath of fresh CO2-free air. Critics say the price will be too high. They must not see what our continued use of fossil fuels is already costing us. Year after year, climate change is causing escalating levels of human misery and economic hardship — a dystopian future unfolding in real time.
Minnesota’s carbon-free goal is even more achievable if the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) recently introduced in the U.S. House is enacted. It places a price on carbon at the extraction point, with the proceeds going entirely and equally to U.S. citizens. This will spur the energy market to quickly shift to renewables, boost innovation in energy storage/distribution technology and add millions of new jobs. A clean, prosperous carbon-free future is within our grasp. We just need the will to reach for it.
Laurel Regan, Apple Valley
• • •
Contrary to the gloomy forecast by state Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, of the results and efficacy of Walz’s proposals, our state has already exceeded the goal of relying on renewable-energy sources for at least 25 percent of electricity generation, and Xcel Energy has set its own goal of being carbon-free by 2050. Other power companies will be able to meet similar goals, because necessity is the mother of invention. Solar and wind power are already the least expensive ways of producing electricity, compared with fossil fuels.
Negative statements made by some about the predictability and availability of wind and sunshine overlook the fact that there are multiple ways to store energy (batteries, flywheel technology, heat storage via solar arrays used to melt salt, extracting hydrogen from water for later combustion, etc.). These technologies continue to advance at an encouraging pace.
Fossil fuels are not only polluting our environment and contributing to climate change, they are also being depleted. Oil reserves will be gone by the end of this century. We simply must switch to clean, renewable fuel sources.
Louis Asher, Vadnais Heights
• • •
St. Paul seems to believe that to meet CO2 emission goals they must get rid of automobiles, replaced by public transit. This is not true. If, as the governor is proposing, we have 100 percent renewable electricity in the future, then electric cars will be emitting zero greenhouse gases. Now, there will be trips that are longer than the battery capacity of all-electric cars can handle. Plug-in hybrids can act as all-electric until the battery is depleted, then operate on gasoline. In this gasoline hybrid mode, they still emit only about half the greenhouse gases of an all-gasoline vehicle.
Even when we are still generating power with fossil fuels, existing power plants are so much more energy-efficient than gasoline automobile engines that greenhouse gases from power plants charging electric cars are less than that produced by gasoline autos.
The plan on both the local and state levels needs to find a way to encourage the purchase and use of all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. We purchased a plug-in hybrid vehicle almost a year ago, and find, even though we have put in many miles on the car, we rarely need to fill up with gasoline.
Don Stauffer, Coon Rapids
U.S. REP. ILHAN OMAR
(1) All sides, open your minds.
(2) Representative? Priorities.
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar has found words deemed inappropriate by some, and they may well be (“Comment ignites new fire for Omar,” March 5). She was talking about the special relationship this country has with Israel, which was founded on and hopefully continues to be governed by good intentions. But she crossed an unmarked line, apparently.
It’s quite possible she has an incomplete and inaccurate assessment of the nature of this relationship, but the fact that we aren’t able to talk about it without aspersions abounding says something about us, and I’m not sure it is a compliment.
Perhaps both sides should remember that to be truly heard you must also listen.
Frederic J. Anderson, Minneapolis
• • •
Rep. Omar stated: “The people of the [Fifth Congressional District] elected me to serve their interest.” I am one of the people of the district who voted for Omar. I elected her to carry on the progressive legacy left to her by Rep. Keith Ellison. As much as I would like to see a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, I did not elect Ilhan Omar to resolve that issue, and in such an inappropriate way.
Miriam Karmel, Minneapolis
A chance to honor faculty
Thank you for the recent coverage of recommendations to rename four buildings on the University of Minnesota campus. As a former student with three degrees from the U and personal connections with three of the buildings mentioned, this impacts more than 30 years of memories for me, but I do support the changes.
My hope is that our regents will look toward the faculty rather than administrators for new names. I’ve had the good fortune to learn from so many excellent professors — Toni McNaron, Allan Spear, Paul Light, John Wright and Karen Seashore come immediately to mind, for example. In education, the teaching is what matters, and is what should be honored with new building names.
Dr. Emily Lilja Palmer, Minneapolis
STAR TRIBUNE EDITORIAL BOARD
Milquetoast? Or astute?
I read with interest the March 4 letter (“Milquetoast!”) about the work of the Star Tribune Editorial Board. The writer takes the board to task as being too timid in positions taken in editorials such as “Keep seeking truth after Cohen’s testimony” and “Reduce racial bias in police traffic stops” editorials. The writer concludes with the assertion that “no reasonable person would publicly advocate to “stop seeking truth after Cohen’s testimony’ or ‘increase racial bias in police traffic stops.’ ” Well, maybe “reasonable people” wouldn’t, but there are all too many who do.
My guess is that about 40 percent of the population of this country is made up of supporters of the con-man in chief, his agents and dupes, the malignantly self-centered, and white supremacists (both overt and covert). I am pretty sure the Venn diagram is a tight one.
During the Cohen hearing, Republican questioners repeatedly denounced the proceedings as a waste of time and a circus, having nothing but political purpose. It is to be reasonably expected that all future hearings into Trump’s conduct will meet with similar responses. These people do not want to hear truth. Similarly, many of those in the above identified crowd will advocate for greater racial profiling based upon the belief that “those people are the ones causing all the trouble” or some similar nonsense.
Occasionally in this Readers Write section we see a letter from some right-wing nut case who accuses the paper of perceived leftist prejudice. Frequently on the Sunday morning talk shows we hear of “fake news” and the “leftist bias” of the mainstream media. Perhaps the Editorial Board has become too sensitive to these unfounded and unwarranted assertions. I’m thinking rather that it recognizes that it has, as part of its readership, this huge population and feels the need to remind it that facts and reason really do matter.
David George Johnson, Sartell, Minn.