Assembly Room, A. K. Smiley Public Library
Birth: Manhatten Beach, CA on October 5, 1926.
Wife: Beverley. Children: Andrew, Virginia, James
Undergraduate: Oregon State, Stanford, USC (BA.)
Graduate: USC (M.S.), Colorado Call (M.A.), Course Work: UCLA, Yale, San Diego, MIT, UR
Redlands High School,
San Bernardino Valley College,
University of Redlands.. Astronomy, physics, director of masters program, (National
Science Foundation) Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario; Visiting professor, 3 summers;
Graduate program in physics
British Columbia Inst.of Tech. Vancouver,B.C.; Summer instructor, Incoming faculty in
Mysore University, Mysore, India; NSF consultant, graduate physics program
Currently Mayor of the City of Redlands
Redlands City Council
Redlands School Board - 14 years
Market Night Committee
Professional Affiliations Past and Present
|American Astronomical Society
||American Association for the Advancement of Science
|Astronomical Society of the Pacific
||American Institute of Physics
|Society for the History of Astronomy
||American Association of Physics Teachers - officer
|International Planetarium Assoc - director
||Amer. Assoc.University Professors - president of SBVC chapter
|Pacific Planetarium Assoc - director
|Redlands Area Historical Society
||First Baptist Church
|Redlands Horticultural and Imp. Soc.
||Friends of Smiley Library
|Friends of the Redlands Animal Shelter
||Redlands Educational Foundation
|The Redlands Association
|Friends of Prospect Park
||Lincoln Memorial Association
||S.B. County Museum Association - treasurer
Ostrich In Crisis
or, How Long Can You Bury Your Head In The Sand
Raging fires, out of control, burning for months, sweeping across Mexico and Southeast
Asia, "500 year" floods on the Mississippi, the Ohio, in the Dakotas.
Devastating drought followed by torrential rains in Texas, hurricane destruction in
Central America, the typhoon path shifted north in Japan, species spreading northward,
others threatened with extinction, global surface temperature up, temperature of the
stratosphere down, glaciers in retreat, sea levels rising - are they related? Do they have
a common cause?
Arguably, -the understanding of weather and climate and the forces which drive them is
one of the most complex and challenging problems for modern science. From the eighteenth
century practice in England of predicting grain harvest and the resulting price through
the study of the frequency and intensity of sunspots, to the analyzing of the distribution
and width of tree rings, man has attempted to gain some insight into the earth's climatic
history and perhaps its future course.
Over the last few decades our information base has grown exponentially. Satellite data
on cloud cover, earth albedo, atmospheric isotopic ratios and circulation, vegetative
cover, land and sea ice distribution and volume, and precise measurement of ocean levels
all give us a picture undreamed of but a short half-century ago.
Massive ocean buoy arrays in the Pacific yield an on-going record of that ocean's
temperature, its currents, its surface biotic content, yielding, for the first time a
predictor of coming seasonal weather as the dynamics of that great ocean are now
recognized to be the engine that drives the weather regimes that we experience, such as
the intense El Nino we've just passed through.
Ice coring, pioneered by the German geophysicist and meteorologist Alfred Wegner who is
credited with the concept of continental drift, and who died on Greenland in 1931 while
working to vindicate his idea, is a field of investigation, which in its infancy
determined ice accumulation rates through measuring the thickness of the layers exposed in
drill cores in a process not unlike counting tree rings. Advanced instrumentation now
measures a myriad of factors in cores, among them the oxygen isotopic ratio in the layers
of ice, providing a measure of snow fall and its distribution as preserved in ice for a
given year for anyplace on the earth through the comparison of corings taken from widely
dispersed sites around the globe.
Planetary data, especially from Mars and Venus, raise questions about the genesis and
life cycle of the earths atmosphere and water. Mars with its fossilized, dendritic
patterns, characteristic of free-flowing surface water, and Venus with its run-away
greenhouse, both argue for the possibility of dramatic change on earth by forces and
processes yet to be found and understood. We eagerly seek parallels with our nearest solar
system neighbors for clues to our past and the future. The October 9 issue of the journal,
Science, for instance, carried an article titled Geologists See Mars in the Canadian
Arctic," and modelers of atmospheric dynamics eagerly analyze Venus probe data.
For centuries we've known of a connection between the eleven year solar cycle, as
evidenced by sunspot activity, and weather. The longest known break in sunspot activity
occurred at the time of Maunder's Minimum (1646 - 1715), when the Northern Hemisphere
suffered what is known as the Little Ice Age.. Ironically, this coolest period in modern
times almost precisely matched the reign of Louis XIV of France (1643 - 1715), the
"Sun King.. The event was confirmed in 1976 from contemporary records of the
incidence of auroras and the amount of 14C in old tree rings. While the Sun has been
carefully observed for an extended period of time and we are beginning to understand
something about its dynamics, we have no explanation for Maunders Minimum but do accept
that it can happen again.
And most recently, the scientific community has come to consensus that the earth's
climate suffered rapid and dramatic change in at least one instance by collision with an
extraterrestrial object. Most of those knowledgeable in the field now believe that the
impact of an asteroid or comet with the earth triggered the great species extinction at
the Tertiary-Cretaceous boundary about 65 million years ago.
It is now known that a number of massive objects periodically intersect the earth's
orbit, any one of which could collide with the earth in the future with similar results.
Further, there is growing evidence of collisions in the past. All agree that absent our
planet's dynamic processes, the face of the earth would resemble that of the moon.
Some in the scientific community advocate that we develop techniques for the detection,
interception and destruction of any object that would threaten our planet or, at the
least, the development of a method that would deflect it from its inward path.
Volcanism has also played a role. The explosion of Tambora in 1815, threw enough
material into the stratosphere to darken the sun enough worldwide to produce frost in
August in Virginia in 1816, The Year Without Summer," causing catastrophic crop
failure and contributing to Jefferson's bankruptcy.
The recent eruption of Pinatubo in the Philippines also produced worldwide weather
effects, as well as blinding some satellite instruments.
Could human activity have an effect on climate?
One of the most frightening predictions of the Cold War period was the concept of
''Nuclear Winter," wherein enough material in the form of dust, gas and smoke would
be thrown up by the nuclear blasts from a massive missile exchange to so obscure the sun's
rays from the surface of the earth for years, disrupting and limiting photosynthesis,
thereby, chilling the planet, and extinguishing most species.
A small and brief example of the potential impact of human activity was the darkening
of the sun and the violence and intensity of the thunderstorms triggered over the Great
Plain states by the smoke from the enormous fires which engulfed southern Mexico this
year. The lightning was unusual in the energy of its discharge, with most strokes carrying
a positive charge and more often cloud to ground, rather than the more common negative
cloud to cloud.
Recent research has also yielded a statistically significant linkage between
precipitation and the day of the week in the northeast U.S. The most likely cause being
the accumulation of particulates in the air over the weekly cycle of commuting and
On a more parochial note, I have often wondered whether the rapid urbanization of the
Victor and Coachella valleys, with the attendant rise in humidity there, has not changed
our local weather. Those historically dry valleys with their hot days and cool nights
acted like a pump. The lower pressure hot air days pulling the cooler coastal air inland
during the day, and the higher pressure nighttime cool air pushing the coastal air seaward
again. Certainly, ore thing is true, as those valleys urbanize, the once pristine, clear
desert air that came into our area previously is now contaminated with all the atmospheric
by-products associated with our life-style
One of the most important issues of debate in the recent past had to do with the effect
of human activities on the change in the nature and intensity of that portion of the sun's
radiation that reaches the earth's surface.
As we all know, the sun supplies the energy that drives our atmosphere and produces
changes in weather, most obviously demonstrated by the seasonal effects resulting from the
changing inclination of our place on the planet with respect to the sun due to the earth's
Most solar radiation never reaches the earth's surface. Nearly all is blocked, absorbed
or reflected, by the earth's blanket of atmosphere. Fortunately for us, the atmosphere has
but a few, narrow, transparent windows which allow only certain frequencies to penetrate
to the planet's surface. We have evolved dependent on those.
The light that we see by, that gives us our blue skies, our red sunrises and sunsets,
is but a tiny fraction of the energy that bathes the earth from the sun. Yet our eyes, for
instance, are most sensitive to light of the yellow-green line, precisely the peak of the
energy available to us, with the blues scattered by the atmosphere and the reds partially
We have known for some time that the atmosphere was becoming ever more transparent to
ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet, strongly ionizing, is used to destroy organisms in
drinking water, and sterilize instruments, among other beneficial applications, but its
increasing intensity at the earth's surface is also statistically associated with the
increase in skin cancer, the incidence of cataract, and a worldwide decline in amphibian
The projected costs of the health effects of that change are staggering, and, while the
contribution of amphibian species to the planet's ecological balance is little understood,
all agree it is significant.
It soon became evident that the increase in ultraviolet flux was associated with the
increasing use of chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs, the most universally used of all
refrigerants. CFCs act as a catalyst in the breakdown of atmospheric ozone, our high
altitude protective shield against the sun's ultraviolet rays. Unaffected by the process
of ozone dissociation, which they mediate, CFCs are unusually stable molecules with long
atmospheric residence times. They were accumulating at an alarming rate in the ozone
That worldwide alarm led to the Montreal Protocol of a decade ago' which mandated the
elimination of the manufacture and use of CFCs. Just this year, the U.S. gave Russia, one
of the last major producers of CFCs, $25 million to phase out production.
Observations indicate that the ban is working. The northern hemisphere Ozone hole"
shows signs of stabilizing and shrinking. Predictions are that within several decades the
ozone shield could be healed and the threat removed. Perhaps the best evidence, yet, that
human activity can produce change in the earth's atmosphere.
The focus of the scientific community has now shifted to the phenomenon of "global
warming resulting from the accumulation of "greenhouse gases," in the
atmosphere, driven by the insatiable demand for energy by an exploding world population.
Just as the ozone layer acts as an ultraviolet shield and glass responds to infrared,
certain atmospheric gases, principally carbon dioxide, methane and water, absorb and then
re-radiate infrared. While all occur naturally in quantity in the atmosphere, all are also
by-products of human activity.
We experience the greenhouse effect daily when we find our car's interior significantly
warmer than the ambient temperature after we've let it sit for a time in sunlight Glass,
selectively transparent to visible light, blocks the re-radiated infrared from the car's
interior surfaces, raising the temperature thereby.
We also witness the greenhouse effect graphically here in Redlands, where a cloudy
winter night never brings the threat of freezing, but a crystal clear sky and little wind
will see growers, like myself, scrambling to protect their crops.
In earlier times, the Sahara, with some of the driest and cleanest skies in the world,
would often see one hundred plus mid-day temperatures drop to below freezing before dawn.
Life, as we know it, has evolved in adaptation to the natural forces and processes
which govern the environment. Among these are the distribution of water, the temperature
regime, seasonal change, the amount and seasonal distribution of rain and snow, the
distribution and amount of "permanent" ice, the level of the sea, and wind. All
are dependent upon the temperature at the earth's surface, which, assuming a constant sun,
is dependent, in turn, upon the greenhouse effect.
Those who work in the field agree, by whatever parameter measured, that the earth is
warming and doing so at an accelerating rate. The earth's surface temperature today
averages 1.6 degrees hotter than in 1860. Up 0.6 degrees since 1937.
At this time, there is also a nearly universal consensus within the scientific
community that human activity, namely, the combustion of carbon-rich fossil fuels, is
intensifying the greenhouse effect with consequent global warming and attendant climate
change. Atmospheric carbon dioxide now measures 360 ppm, 30% higher than at the start of
the industrial revolution. It is now at the highest concentration in the last 1 60,000
Some have characterized that to do nothing to reverse this process is like leaving our
children and grandchildren in a locked car on a hot day with the windows rolled up tight.
What is predicted that we might expect from warming, no matter what the cause?
Some effects are intuitive: a rise in sea level due to the thermal expansion of the
oceans' waters; a re-ordering poleward of the climate zones; a rise in sea level due to
the melting of continental ice, a shift toward the poles of species distribution with
selective attendant species extinction. All of these have been observed, confirming the
We in a temperate clime, living well above sea level, might well find whatever changes
that have occurred thus far of little direct impact on our lives. Those on low-lying sea
islands and in continental areas at or near sea level, such as Bangladesh, face threats to
their very survival from the rise in sea level, alone.
Melting of the West Antarctic Ice Shelf, for example, a process which reportedly shows
some indication of beginning, would raise sea-levels by more than twenty feet. Inundated
would be large areas of northern Europe, especially the Netherlands and Denmark, as well
as, much of our gulf coast and the heavily populated eastern seaboard, where many of the
cities were located at the fall line, the limit of navigation and the source of water
But another set of phenomena of immense importance, not intuitively expected, yet
predicted in early computer modeling, is an increase in the violence and intensity of
storms, droughts, floods, heat waves. Events which produce crop failures, loss of life and
enormous property damage. Catastrophic events which affect us all.
There is near universal agreement that in recent years we have seen floods greater than
any in memory in China, India, the U.S. Droughts that have ravaged Australia and Southeast
Asia, hurricanes and typhoons more frequent, larger in extent, with more energy, a hint at
fundamental changes in the oceans' circulation.
It all makes sense if one reflects on the fact that there is greater energy available
to lift water from a warmer ocean, to drive the winds which distribute that energy across
There are those few who argue that we are seeing the result of natural forces. That it
all has happened before. That the best we can do is to plan and respond. Others argue that
these processes are so gradual, the system so complex with background noise sufficiently
great that we could be looking at a short term perturbation rather than an ongoing
fundamental change due to a greenhouse effect. Many of these are either funded by or
associated with the fossil fuel industry, which has mounted a multimillion dollar campaign
to build doubt in the minds of the public.
By far the great majority of the scientific community, as evidenced by the Cairo
conference on world population and last year's Kyoto accord on global warming, as well as
resolutions of professional bodies, are convinced that human activity is a driving force
in the warming we are experiencing today. No one claims that mankind alone has caused the
glaciers to melt or the sea level to rise by up to 10 inches this century, but all agree
that we are contributing to and accelerating the change.
Those opposed to any response to the problem cite the enormous costs associated with
proposed solutions and suggest that, as reason, alone, to do nothing. Multi-national
corporations have banded together to hire "scientists" to create the illusion of
uncertainty within the scientific community and have argued that the U.S. should not act
until matched by countries like Bangladesh, per capita annual income $224, which produces
less than 150th the amount of carbon dioxide that we do.
Those same companies made similar arguments against the introduction of smog controls
and higher highway mileage standards, which, in spite of a doubling of the number of cars
on our roads, has produced the cleanest air in our region in the last quarter century.
The 1970s OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) driven fuel shortage
finally forced the "Big Three" auto manufacturers into the development of
smaller, more efficient cars when foreign models stole a major fraction of their market.
With current real gasoline prices the lowest in a half century, we are now ignoring that
The very effective requirements for higher thermal efficiencies in appliances and
building standards, mandated at that time, met the same corporate resistance. Yet today,
we accept building standards which require double-glazed windows, enhanced insulation and
energy conserving lighting and appliances.
Companies, such as DuPont, which fought the banning of Freon, the most common
chlorofluorocarbon, as the working fluid in refrigerators and air conditioners, now
produce an alternative that has led to the manufacture of appliances that are
significantly more efficient than those replaced.
Always, those who have opposed higher standards of efficiency and conservation invoke a
doomsday scenario of a contracting economy and lost jobs resulting from the impact of
Left out of their arguments is the stimulus for and creation of new industries to meet
those mandates, a boon to our economy they conveniently ignore. Surely, the most dramatic
illustration of this is the computer industry. Not mandated, but now essential to all, the
computer has transformed our economy as much as the steel industry at the turn of the
century and has produced great personal wealth. Need we wonder at what the naysayers would
have said in 1960 if told that they could not successfully operate in the 1990's without a
new-fangled machine, the computer, which would cost American business billions? The advent
of television and the automobile both transformed society and stimulated economic growth.
Is there any reason to believe that the development and utilization of greenhouse effect
intermediating materials and processes would not have comparable impacts?
Just what are the dimensions of the population/energy problem?
In the fall of 1997, 1,500 of the world's top scientists, including 97 of the 171
living Nobel laureates issued an urgent call for the world's nations to take strong,
binding steps toward curbing global warming.
World population is racing toward 6 billion. The U.S. population is projected at 500
million by 2100, California at 50 million by 2020 and 63 million by 2040, Redlands at
90,000 in 15 years.
Sterile numbers, standing alone have little meaning, but let's look at a few
implications of those same numbers. While the consumption of petroleum is increasing at an
exponential rate, the discovery of new recoverable reserves is now predicted to be matched
by consumption sometime around 2010, leading many in the field to the conclusion that we
should consider conservation of those reserves for the use of petroleum for the myriad of
products it is the feed stock for and which are so essential to our modern society. None
in the field quarrels with the concept that petroleum is a finite resource, subject to
What are our energy alternatives?
While a significant fraction of the world's energy is produced by nuclear power, in
some countries, most notably the U.S., nuclear power is in disrepute and the 104 plants in
this country are aging and are not likely to be replaced.
Nuclear power also changed the energy equation, with countries deficient in fossil
energy sources, such as France, which produces more than 70 % of the energy for as power
grid from nuclear plants, a good example.
Ironically, although we've stopped building nuclear plants on our own soil, American
companies are building them overseas. In fact, one of the inducements that the U.S has
used to bring North Korea to the peace table has been the offer to construct a light water
reactor in that energy short country.
If the breeder reactor becomes both safe and economical, nuclear energy holds great
promise. And, of course, should fusion power become a reality (it works in bombs) a new
age of nearly limitless energy will arrive.
Unfortunately, funding for these technologies has been severely reduced over the past
several years. Literature in the field would indicate that commercial power in quantity
from either source is at least a generation away in time.
Coal, of which the earth has abundant reserves, when burned, puts not only carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere but sulfur dioxide as well as small amounts of other very
damaging by-products such as mercury and nuclides.
Hydro power has tapped nearly all of the productive sites, and new dams meet vigorous
and effective opposition.
Wind power now produces about 5% of California's electrical energy. Denmark, the
world's leader, exports wind power. Even here there are environmental costs. The Altamont
Pass array, on some 35,000 acres, the largest in the country, has had a severe negative
effect on birds, especially raptors like the golden eagle. And many in the Palm Springs
area, another prime wind source, complain of the aesthetic impact on the desert scene.
Solar arrays and photovoltaics hold great promise but are also limited at present by
cost and geography.
We have held Malthus at bay in the twentieth century. Can we continue to do so in the
It would appear that our only hope is the stabilization of the world's population and a
significant reduction in global-warming energy consumption and waste production.
Population can be stabilized. Western Europe and Japan have aging populations that show
negative growth. The white cohort in this country is likely at zero growth. Even in
rapidly growing states like California that trend is evident.
San Bernardino county schools have seen a drop of more than 5,000 white children since
1990, in spite of the explosive growth of the school age population in the county for all
While world fertility has dropped, the population increase in the
''underdeveloped" world continues, driven by a drop in infant mortality and an
increase in life span. A case in point is India. That country is projected to soon
overtake China as the world's most populous country in spite of urgent governmental
efforts to reduce fertility, including such desperate means as sterilization.
There are other localized, counter forces which operate to limit growth.
A frightening example. Demographers are now estimating that in spite of a high
fertility rate, some African countries, most notably Zimbabwe, may lose population within
the next twenty years due to death from AIDS, alone, as nearly a quarter of their
populations are infected with HIV.
And, of course, the world's population could suffer collapse should some exotic virus,
like the Ebola event in Africa, which might spread before it could be quarantined. All of
us undoubtedly lost relatives to the great Spanish Flu pandemic earlier this century,
which swept Europe and North America and filled a section of Hillside Cemetery.
Yet, world population continues to explode.
Recent studies have estimated that it requires 12 to 15 productive acres of land to
sustain the current North American life style. To provide a like lifestyle for the present
world population of 5.8 billion, in excess of 69 billion acres would be required, but the
planet only has in the order of 22 billion acres of ecologically productive land.
What does all of the above tell us?
In the broadest sense, two conclusions can be drawn. First, the growth in world
population must be addressed. And second, that we cannot continue our present rate of
consumption of energy without dramatic change in its sources and management.
At the turn of the century the earth contained t.6 billion people, estimated to be more
than had lived in all the ages before 1800. Today there are estimated to be about 5.8
billion of us, with 10 billion predicted by 2100.
A number of studies have concluded that to provide our standard of living for all the
world's present population we would be required to achieve a three fold increase in our
efficiency of resource use arid our capacity for waste assimilation.
To assure our present living standard IF the expected 10 billion would require at least
a five fold change.
Can we do it?
Of considerable concern is the fact that within the last decade, the warmed on record,
grain production in Canada and the Ups. one year was one third below normal due to
drought. For the first time in 200 years w were not able to feed ourselves out of current
Many assume technological break throughs will save us as they have in the past.
The Green Revolution increased the world's grain production dramatically. societies
which had routinely seen a portion of their populations fact with starvation, such as
India, became net exporters of food. But at a cost. The fertilizers required were produced
at large expenditures in energy. The dung of farm animals no longer sufficed.
Unfortunately, the consensus among plant geneticists today is that a second Green
Revolution soon appears unlikely. Also, genome research in the hybridization of fruits and
vegetables has met with considerable public resistance, especially after the discovery
that the recently marketed sir tomato prod wed allergic reactions in those individuals
sensitive to the tomato's peanut genes.
What does all this mean for our own backyard?
California is projected to grow by 18 million between now and 2020 and by another 13
million by 2040. In other words California will add a population equal to the state of New
York in the next 22 years and acid the state of Texas in the next 20.
San Bernardino County will see a near doubling in numbers. Redlands, even under growth
rnanagement will see an increase of about 25 thousand, more than As total population just
30 years ago.
Some consequences of this growth are obvious. This county, alone, will need additional
classrooms for about another 130,000 children at a current cost of more than $10,000 per
We have finessed the school housing requirements in the recent past by turning to
year-round schools and covering their playgrounds with Temporary classrooms." We have
exploited those avenues to the limit. We must now fund and construct additional schools.
To maintain the same level of traffic congestion, California will need to nearly double
its freeway lane and arterial road mileage at an average cost of about a million dollars
Even with planned expansions and improvements, Southern Califomia's freeways are
expected to increase in "gridlock" from 34 freeway miles at present to 300 miles
in 2020. Several of those gridlocked miles will be in Redlands on that part of 1-10 from
California Street to the Yucaipa Boulevard offrarnp.
If we project a nominal density of four units per acre to house our population
increase, more than 2,000 acres of our remaining citrus lands will be paved over, and
another 1,000 lost to work centers, schools, etc. needed to support that growth. Our
citrus heritage and open space will be but a memory.
All of these will require consumption of energy and the paving over of arable land.
What about the today?
Redlands at the turn of the century was noted for its healthful climate and many of our
most notable pioneers came here for that reason. In fact, Redlands was one of only five
cities in the country to be authorized to issue its own Easter Seals. Today, we have the
dirtiest air in the nation and have received some notoriety as the California city with
the highest risk for heart disease.
A USC Medical School study linked smog to a 10 to 15% loss of lung capacity in young
adults who grow up here. A Loma Linda study identified a 37% higher risk of cancer in
non-smoking women who live in the region's smoggiest areas. Kaiser has found a correlation
between airborne particulate concentrations and the rate of hospital admissions.
To come to some appreciation of the scale of the problem, let's examine just one facet:
Regional planners have calculated that just to achieve the level of air quality
mandated by the federal Clean Air Act, all of the automobiles in the South Coast Basin
must be replaced by 2010.
What do the studies show?
To meet our air quality requirements by 2010, as reflected in the 1998 RTP (Regional
Transportation Plan) adopted by SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments3, our
regional governing body, we must remove 300 tons per day of emissions from mobile sources.
A part is to come from the introduction and use of ZEVs (Zero Emission Vehicles), those
powered by electricity or fuel cells. Two percent of all cars sold are to be ZEV's this
year with that percentage rising to 10% by 2003. The remaining reductions are to come from
the total conversion of all automobiles in the air basin by 2010 to 78% ULEV (UItra Low
Emission Vehicles), exemplified by CNG (Compressed natural Gas) use, and 22% ZEVs as
defined on Table 4-14 of the 1994 AQMP (Air Quality Management Plan).
What are the economic implications of this change, assuming zero population growth? The
South Coast Basin has a current population of 15 million, with an average of 3 persons per
dwelling unit and 2 cars per unit. Thus, there are currently in the order of 10 million
cars that will require replacement or modification. If we assume a conservative figure of
$5,000 per vehicle to achieve this change, the cost would be $50 billion. If one adds the
expected 6.5 million growth in population by 2010, the costs rise by another t20 billion.
These numbers are found buried in technical reports. Unfortunately, no one has either the
political will or courage to air them publicly or to force their attainment.
With the increase in Asian-Pacific trade, Los Angeles and Long Beach have become the
busiest ports in the world. As a consequence, our area is now the primary corridor for
freight movement from the West Coast to other parts of the country and for transshipment
to the rest of the world. That freight, which is expected to double over the next several
years will be transported by diesel-powered trucks and trains, nearly all of them passing
through our area. Attainment of the Clean Air Act standards will also require that these
units also achieve near zero emissions. An unlikely event.
The soots from these engines in the P.M.10 range have been recognized as carcinogens
for a number of years. Recent studies now implicate exhaust particles down to P.M.2.5 and
federal regulations have been promulgated to restrict their production.
As one might guess, the trucking industry, one of the countries most powerful lobbies,
is vigorously opposing any new requirements. It is yet to be seen whether the public
interest will prevail.
Absent a technological breakthrough and the political will to require its
implementation, our air, which is now the dirtiest in the region, could become
sufficiently poisonous to affect the health and lifespans of a major fraction of our
residents from these sources, alone.
Another issue we must address in the near term is the augmentation of our sources of
electric power. We saw our electrical energy sources operating to their limit several
times during this past hot summer, with several periods of voltage drop. Those sources
must be augmented by at least 50 % by 2020 to maintain todays level of service.
We're seeing, instead, a phasing out of our nuclear facilities and the net loss of hydra
power as exemplified locally by the difficulty Edison is experiencing in relicensing the
Mill Creek units.
Will we accept the further damming of our rivers at places like Marble Canyon on the
Colorado or Auburn on the American? Or turn to additional fossil fuel units adding to our
atmosphere problems, while keeping in service older units, such as the Mohave Narrows
plant on the Colorado which is severely degrading the beauty of the Grand Canyon views? Or
once again embrace nuclear power?
Last, but not least, there's the ever-present water problem. The 18 million additional
bodies expected in California will require something between 4 and 6 million acre-feet of
additional water by 2020. The 13 million more persons to be added between then and 2040
will take another 3 million acre-feet. Where is that water to come from? Or will we
severely restrict its use?
The Los Angeles DWP (Department of Water and Power) has lost a portion of its Owens
Valley rights to the restoration of Mono Lake and is now facing even further reduction to
partially solve the air quality problems in that basin by returning some water to Owens
Lake. The MWD (Metropolitan Water District) faces a reduction in the amount of water it
will be able to take from the Colorado as the other basin states claim their full rights.
The California Water Project which taps the flows of both the Sacramento and San Joaquin
now faces federal legislation which has mandated a partial restoration of the delta
ecosystem and fishery.
There are two untapped sources yet to be used, sea water and reclaimed effluent. Both
require significant energy and infrastructure costs.
No matter how we approach the problem, our sources of water will degrade in quality and
more and more people will turn to bottled water at a cost comparable to or exceeding that
In summary, isn't it prudent that we move to address global warming and the population
problem? To intensify our efforts to exploit solar power, to achieve greater thermal
efficiencies, to conserve energy, and, yes, to stimulate our economy?
At the least we would achieve clearer, bluer skies, more breathable air, the
conservation of valuable resources, and a decent standard of living for all.
Population growth is, in the last analysis, a zero sum problem. We cannot continue to
add people without limit. Isn't it prudent to make a serious effort to achieve a stable,
or even declining world population.
We cannot continue to pave over our most arable land. To waste the earth's mineral
resources. We cannot continue to destroy the ecosystem without destroying ourselves. We
must begin to appreciate the concept of limits.
Those portions of the worlds population who live only to survive have neither the means
nor the will to solve the problem. It is we of the advanced industrial world, while we yet
have the wealth to do so, who must make the change. Ours could be the last generations
capable of the task.
What a wonderful gift to those that follow.
This tiny, fragile, beautiful blue orb kept habitable with a quality of life comparable
to ours for generations to come.
We must cease emulating the mythical ostrich, pull our heads out of the sand and
shoulder our task.
A brief post script:
Since this paper was written the U.S. has signed the international global-warming
treaty, something it refused to do at Kyoto. It joins some 60 nations which have committed
to a reduction of "greenhouse gases."
While the U.S., with just 4°/0 of the world's population, produces 25% of the world's
output of "greenhouse gases" and without which meaningful reductions cannot be
achieved, the likelihood of Senate ratification of the treaty is in serious doubt.
Republican opponents, some of whom question the very existence of a global-warming threat
have stated that they will mount a vigorous opposition to ratification. A part of their
argument is that the advanced, industrialized countries will shoulder too much of the
In spite of growing support by multinational corporations, most visibly British
Petroleum and General Motors, for emission reductions, the Congress, just this last month,
defeated administration efforts to eliminate tax subsidies to high-polluting coal-fired
It is said that polls reflect that 8 out of 10 Americans support the Kyoto Accord.
While but a handful of multinationals would accept the concept of global-warming just a
year ago at Kyoto, a significant number were in support at this year's Buenos Aires
meeting. All agree that next year's meeting at Amman, Jordan will see many more
multinationals on board.
The message is getting through. Just how long it will take for the Congress to get it
is yet to be seen. But for our childrens' sake let's hope it will be soon.
Since 1981 the Congress has also blocked any U.S. funding for population control. The
world's population cannot continue to grow unchecked. The U.S., alone, has grown from 4
million in 1800, to 78 million in 1900 to 270 million today, with 500 million expected by
Unfortunately, while this issue is universally recognized as the most pressing problem
facing mankind, today, the U.S. not only refuses to accept its rightful leadership role
but is reluctant to address the problem at all.
While we all know that the mythic ostrich, upon which we heap such ridicule, is far
smarter than his undeserved reputation, we epitomize the very behavior we laugh at.