In a week when the U.S. population hit 300 million, and we're well on our way to hit 400 million in 37 years, "Cool Geo-Whiz Warming Ideas" [October 23] about scientists thinking outside the box on global warming is disturbing. The idea of injecting sulfates into the stratosphere above the Arctic to delay impacts of increasing greenhouse gases assumes that we fully understand the impacts. If those scientists connect the dots, they will realize that we should consider immediate steps to slow the growth rate of our population and of the world to maintain any semblance of the present that we enjoy and depend on.
JEFF VAN EE
In response to reducing global warming, I suggest an idea that was proposed years ago regarding energy production. Offshore thermal energy conversion plants were proposed in the 1970s as a means of producing electricity, hydrogen gas, and/or fresh water by making use of the temperature difference between the bottom waters and the surface. Plants could be anchored in the Gulf Stream, and other places, converting heat to electricity. They are expensive to build but cost little to operate. Each plant would remove heat from the ocean, thereby reducing the oceans' temperature without causing pollution. One plant offshore could produce enough electricity and fresh water to supply the needs of a small city and, at the same time, help to reduce global warming.
JACK W. SCHWALBE
Melbourne Beach, Fla.
Dealing With Disasters
"Granted, DHS Had A Funding Problem" [October 23] points out several important issues regarding the proper focus and allocation of taxpayer-funded homeland security programs. However, in mentioning that "DHS now has to focus on merging the grants office into a beefed-up Federal Emergency Management Agency," you neglect the implications of that decision, namely that FEMA and its core decision makers are, by training and experience, heavily focused on post-event activities, and generally naturally occurring ones. Perhaps it is time to rethink that focus, but this decision should have been made with the informed consent of the people, not by legislative fiat. Sadly, by shifting focus from terrorism, we may be fighting not the last war but the last disaster.
J. MICHAEL BARRETT
"Granted, DHS Had A Funding Problem" reported that New York City security funds for day-to-day expenses were cut. Why should the federal government fund operating costs year after year, leaving us vulnerable if budget cuts are ever required? Many risks and operating costs could be permanently eliminated or significantly reduced with one-time investments in infrastructure and technology, as well as research and development of safer alternatives. I live near several nuclear waste storage sites, power stations, chemical plants, and refineries, which are all upwind of Chicago and close to major transportation hubs and bridges. Citizens also need better warning systems, such as upgrading warning sirens with battery backup and remote operation. Partnering federal budgets with businesses, states, and local governments for long-term security improvements would reduce operating costs and better protect our nation.