With the sad passing of Dr. Griff Blakewood, PhD in 2014 the local Lafayette ULL university now sweltering in near 100-degree -degree weather Lafayette, Louisiana is deprived of an environmental prophet. No Department of Renewable Resources remains to refute misconceptions about fossil fuels, carbon dioxide and global warming.
Dr. Blakewood would be quick to encourage reading widely. He taught his students about reading newspapers with caution. If a presumably well-educated politician in an energy state opposes reduction of burning fossil fuels because AC bills might increase and in the same address declare carbon dioxide emissions are not exacerbating global warming, any professor with or without a degree would encourage students to go back to basic science for the scientific environmental truth.
FACT#1 – Globally over 300 billion tons of carbon dioxide flow from coal into our atmosphere.
FACT #2 – One ton of coal emits 2.8 tons of Carbon dioxide.
FACT #3 – 2014 was the hottest year of a warming decade that has again set weather records.
Renewable Energy students would be introduced to Svante August Arrhenius, the Swedish founder of physical chemistry. In the 1890’s Arrhenius warned humankind there would be serious trouble for all (nature, human and non-human creatures) who call Earth their home if we continue to burn fossil fuels. The warning was repeated in 1903.Arrhenius was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his conclusions.
Of course, transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy will be difficult and expensive. Even EXXON CEO Rex Tillerson who “earns” $100,000 daily admits global warming is a problem. “But we will adapt.” he predicts. Perhaps Tillerson finds time to join thousands of others who vacation in Florida and other global paradises.
FACT #4 – Warming water expands thus leaving Miami, New Orleans and all other coastal cities vulnerable.
If as some argue, burning fossil fuels does not cause global problems, then coal is not black. We must become the change we desire or Earth will become more inhospitable.
Not least, Henry B. Hummert formed the southern Illinois Breese-Trenton Coal Mining Company. All of the coal mines were closed in the 1950’s for environmental reasons and are now paved over by parks or golf courses. Violence and poverty did not follow in my coal-dependent home town (Breese, IL) that has had one murder in its 150 years of history. We adapted to transition, not to increasing temperatures.