Solar power 101
War with Iran would be far worse than Iraq War
I mostly agree with Eric Smith’s May 25 letter in the CDT, “War with Iran could have no winners,” in which he warned that a war with Iran could be as destructive or more so than the 2003 war with Iraq. However, I think that the situation is even worse than he described. The Iraq War’s thousands of American soldiers killed, hundred thousand innocent civilians killed, million refugees uprooted, and trillion dollars spent — is mild as a cost estimate for an Iranian war.
Iran is larger than Iraq and Afghanistan combined, about five times the size as Germany or Vietnam. Who wants to go, or send their kids, to occupy all that land for the next couple of decades? Our European allies aren’t eager to help. If our Saudi Arabia or Israel get involved, we could have a region-wide religious war.
The Iraq War at least removed Saddam Hussein. A new war might not be that successful. Attacking military sites without overthrowing the government would give it pretext to become even more brutal and repressive. Overthrowing the government without replacing it would mean that much of the Middle East becomes an anarchic terrorist playground. Replacing the government would require decades of nation building, which candidate Trump rejected.
No good option remains for either side except diplomatic negotiation. I think that “supporting our troops” should mean we don’t send them to suffer and die fighting other countries’ battles, and that “America first” should mean not sacrificing our future for bravado.
Climate change no longer up for debate
We, a supposedly intelligent species, are faced with having to respond to a situation we created, a climate crisis. Those with the intelligence, an open mind and the proper knowledge have determined that we must act soon. It is the scientific consensus. The nature of this calamity is one that is very hard to reverse. CO2 remains in the air a very long time and other greenhouse gasses contribute significantly, all contribute to have an effect that can be amplified by further warming. We see record-breaking heat waves, more droughts, floods, destabilized weather patterns with a disrupted northern vortex, severe hurricanes, tornadoes, sea level rise, ocean acidification, mass species extinctions, and rising mass migrations as a result. The news media are not making the climate disruption connection to these events clear enough. But the other problem is that people just do not want to believe it. We have tribalism and rising nationalism, with one party in denial. We have people who fear having to sacrifice anything now for a future worth living. We have companies with fossil fuel interests who have put out disinformation by the ton for decades, often saying there is still debate, when there is not! What they do is criminal, putting us all in danger for a few bucks, they should be jailed. Are we intelligent or are we just kidding ourselves, are we just pretenders who as a whole who can’t see past our own biases, greed and fear? That may be so.
Solar works in Centre County
It was disappointing to see in Wednesday’s CDT that some people still think Centre County is too far north or too cloudy for solar power generation. Neither are true.
New Jersey, at our latitude and with equivalent weather, has the fourth highest amount of installed solar capacity in the country. And Massachusetts, further north, is fifth.
Germany, at latitudes corresponding to the northern US and southern Canada and with plenty of cloudy days, is the third largest producer of solar energy in the world.
Solar-generated energy works here in Centre County as is already confirmed by Penn State, the University Area Joint Authority, Burkholder’s Country Market in Penns Valley, and hundreds of additional businesses and individual homeowners, with more being added each year.
It’s high time to kill the myth that solar doesn’t work in Centre County or anywhere else in Pennsylvania.