Friday, December 08, 2006

Environmental Dilemmas

More craziness from across the river in Vermont.

So the voters in Norwich approved a bond issue to install a wood-fired boiler for the elementary school. Hanover's new Middle School has one of these, and I imagine that with heating oil prices being so high, the investment's ROI ex post is looking pretty nice. (By the way, I live about half a mile from that boiler and do not notice any ill effects, including no ill effects from the wood chip delivery trucks.)

Norwich voters had one study by a consulting firm available to them when they approved the boiler, and the study said that the emissions from the wood boiler would be nothing to worry about.

Now a new study has been presented (why was this new study done...hmmmm?) showing not only that emissions would be worse, but that the emissions would fall outside of the EPA rules that would be enforced...starting in 2010!!

Even more hilariously, all the EPA regulations are irrelevant in the regulatory sense, since the Norwich furnace is too small to fall under the EPA's regulatory umbrella.

But nonetheless, this new study has put the boiler on hold.

I imagine that in Norwich, VT, more copies per capita of Al Gore's book on climate change have been purchased than anywhere else. Yet here we have an economically sound investment that will reduce net CO2 emissions...and it fails because of the age-old "not in my backyard" argument. Give me a break, please.

Sometime in the future we are going to face some real tradeoffs and we will not be able to say no to everything. Boy, if we can't even put a wood stove in Norwich, how are we ever going to site a nuke in Burlington??

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Anonymous said...

With all of the statistical approaches you have taken to try to pull the focus away from a very obvious increasing trend in temperture and CO2 levels, I see no statistics foiling the clearly defined shift in the atmospheric carbon budget. Which by the way, can only be explained by an unprecedented rise in CO2 levels with anthropogenic fingerprints all over them.

Let's leave climate modeling and atmospheric science to those who have spent their lives studying the subject. Statistics does not a scientist make, by no stretch of the imagination. Statistics can be twisted to prove any point, quite unlike solid observation. And please remember, science is a peered reviewed profession, and peer review works very, very well.

Kevin Bjella
Vermont