Shift to green energy

simply isn't practical

The Jan. 20 letter, "Here's what we can do about climate change," was unrealistic on two levels - practical and economic.

Coal-fired generating plants account for at least 40 percent of the nation's 24/7 energy demands. It would be disastrous to drive these off line without something to quickly replace them. Not only would we have blackouts, but we would see electric bills soar.

Wind and solar are only supplements - not replacements. The wind doesn't always blow as we need it to, and the sun only shines sometimes. Further, for these to be more effective, storage technology adapted to these sources needs a lot of advancement beyond the present day.

A more practical strategy would be to phase coal plants into cleaner-burning natural gas - as is planned for the B.L. England plant at Beesleys Point. Then, over time, convert nationally to nuclear power as the primary energy source. These programs would take years to implement. We should have started long ago. Eventually renewable sources will take their proper place in the energy picture depending on their economic and performance viability.

The cost of electricity is inseparable from an industrial nation's global competitiveness. The cheaper the power, the better the competitive position. While we're considering moves to more expensive energy methods, China is building coal-fired plants like crazy and has an active nuclear-breeder reactor program (these produce nuclear fuel instead of waste), all aimed at driving energy costs down.

Climate change (however one defines it) may or may not be an issue, but draconian actions speeding toward "green" energy are harmful to our economy and global position. Cooler heads should prevail.

BOB LOVELL

Cape May Court House

Amount of debt

does matter to U.S.

Regarding Daniel Altman's Jan. 19 column, "Concerning debt, how and why you borrow matters":

Unfortunately, Altman doesn't address at all the major factors troubling the rating agencies or the serious concerns of American citizens who are ultimately the guarantors of U.S. debt.

For one thing, size does matter as much as the purpose and cost of debt. Too much leverage endangers the debtor's ability to address changing and unexpected conditions, and limits one's ability and flexibility to stay competitive. Default and stagnation are the wolves at the door of over-leveraged entities.

Of course, if there is always access to additional revenue, that is handled. Maybe that's Altman's perspective. But as a nation with a budget that continually decreases our discretionary choices as a country, it shouldn't be the perspective of Congress.

NORM MAYALL

Northfield

Here's hoping Obama

can overcome the haters

My advice to President Barack Obama is to please stay focused on the issues, as he has many. There are some who will still not believe he is the president, holding the highest office in the free world. Those of us who are concerned with our country's situation still salute him. We are also praying for him.

To our young people who study current events in school, watch the names of those who talk silly and try to discourage you from holding a political office by bad-mouthing our president. Everyone is not like that. They are evil and dangerous, and for them it's not about civility but about tearing down what should be a decent and orderly country.

Do not walk in their footsteps, as you have to break this unruly cycle that's prevalent in our society today. You are our future.

God bless our young people who are torn in so many different directions. God bless the president of the United States.

BARBARA DINKINS

Pleasantville

Respect your opponents

in the debate on guns

Listening to President Barack Obama vilify those who would dare to disagree with his thoughts on the subject of violence made me realize that, with all the frantic noise and arguments, we have not been having a much-needed national dialogue. Rather, we are in the midst of parallel monologues on two different planes.

Those who favor stricter gun control begin with an emotional response to a serious situation and conclude that something is wrong so something must be done. They mostly avoid facts and accuse their opponents of being unfeeling or even evil.

Those who support the Second Amendment tend to argue more from historical facts and logic. They accuse their opponents of ignorance and of favoring government expansion and the taking away of individual freedoms.

No one wants to allow mass killings, but just "doing something" involving government action more often than not involves unintended consequences and often misses the point. Until we can stop demonizing those who think differently from ourselves and address their arguments, nothing can get done.

PHILIP BLANCH

Egg Harbor Township