Global warming: Worse than you think

Indeed, our society is in systemic dysfunction over the pace of climate change, largely due to well-orchestrated confusion sown by energy companies (“How our kids will pay for global warming,” by Sandy Smith-Nonini, Sept. 3). North Carolina’s priority is clear and achievable: Stop building power plants and quickly increase energy efficiency.

Unfortunately, what NASA’s James Hansen calls “a crystallizing planetary emergency” is worse than the media have disclosed. Consequently, scientists and citizen groups are struggling with the dilemma Smith-Nonini described: How to convey the terrifying science without causing full-blown denial.

Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers pretends we have decades to institute corporate-manipulated cap and trade schemes. But the world’s top scientists warn that storms, floods, heat waves, droughts and wildfires will continue worsening, and that we’re very close to catastrophic tipping points.

Hansen now believes global carbon dioxide accumulation is already 10 percent too high to maintain a habitable planet. Nobel Prize winner R.K. Pachauri says we are facing “…nothing less than an existential threat to civilization.”

One much-feared tipping pointthe melting of the Arctic floor and release of methaneis under way. This could lead to a drastic acceleration of global warming.

People of all generations must take action. If we cross into self-sustaining climate change, the choice between solar, coal, wind or nukes won’t matter.

Globally, emissions must start downward within a decade. This requires a price on carbon emissions, offset by lower payroll taxes.

In North Carolina, demand that politicians help cancel construction of Duke Energy’s Cliffside coal-fired plant, and stop new nukes planned by Duke and Progress Energy. The utilities’ own data prove new plants aren’t needed.

Fourteen organizations are promoting an independent statewide (non-utility) efficiency program, NC SAVE$, which further undermines the need for new plantsand could help retire existing coal plants (see I urge readers to join these groups, and press civic leaders to support this protection of our power bills and climate.

Jim Warren
Executive Director, NC Warn

Film capsule was erroneous

While I was very happy to read Bland Simpson’s eloquent appreciation of my film Moving Midway in last week’s Independent, there are statements in Neil Morris’ capsule review of the film that need correction.

First, Morris identifies the original location of Midway Plantation as “North Raleigh.” In fact, as the film makes plain through commentary and maps, Midway’s old and new locations are both within the town limits of Knightdaleeight miles due east of downtown Raleigh.

Second, Morris says that my film uses a style that “unabashedly emulates Ross McElwee.” While I am a great admirer of the work of Ross McElwee (who was a consulting producer on Moving Midway), the style of his films and mine could not be more dissimilar.

Ross famously shoots all of his films with a handheld 16mm camera. Mine was shot mainly on high-quality digital video and very little of it is handheld. Ross uses only natural light and shoots everything himself. My film employs artificial lighting in most interiors and was shot by professional crews (under cinematographer-producer Jay Spain) using camera cranes, helicopters and other techniques unknown to the kind of verite filmmaking that Ross practices.

Additionally, Ross’ films are all first-person narratives. Mine is not centered on me and mixes narrative and essay sections.

While Ross’ films and mine both concern our families in North Carolina, that is a matter of substance, not style.

Godfrey Cheshire
New York

Global warming: The wine connection

I am writing in response to Arturo Ciompi’s article, “Ravenswood: No wimpy wines” (Sept. 10). Ciompi cites Joel Peterson’s concern that “the great Cabernet Sauvignons of Napa Valley may be gone in 15 or 20 years because of increasing global warming.”

It is imperative to also point out that many things (aside from fine wine) may be gone in 15-20 years due to global warming.

Our dependence on oil and other fossil fuels has led to skyrocketing energy costs and global warming. Fortunately, we’re at a major crossroads. America has the technology to harness things such as wind, sun and other homegrown clean energy sources. Environment North Carolina is working to push leaders in Washington to pass a bold energy plan for America that will cut pollution and create new jobs. Big Oil wants to keep the status quo, but this change can definitely happen by getting public support and public attention.

It is imperative we do what we can right now to ensure that there will still be things such as an environment (and fine wine!) to enjoy in the future.

Shelley Lin
Chapel Hill