Mr. Staruk’s reply to Mr. Burruss rebutting man’s effect on climate change misses some critical points. While it is true that there have been warming and cooling cycles throughout geologic time, scientists are able to identify those caused by natural cycles and those caused my man. I know that Mr. Staruk may not know the science behind this, but he can do some research if he is at all interested. I am afraid, however, that those who share Mr. Staruk’s opinion are victims of cognitive dissonance.

Those who deny climate change brought about by man are missing a key point. Those gases and chemicals that are at least partially responsible for climate change also have a huge impact on human health and the health of all inhabitants of our world that depend on non-polluted air and water in order to survive.

WebMD states that “The number of Americans who die from chronic respiratory diseases has skyrocketed over the past 35 years, led in large part by deaths from COPD, a new report indicates.

“From 1980 through 2014, more than 4.6 million Americans died from a range of chronic respiratory illnesses, the researchers reported. While the risk was pegged at 41 deaths for every 100,000 people back in 1980, it rose to nearly 53 out of every 100,000 by 2014, representing a nearly 31 percent spike over 35 years.”

And the dismal news continues in the new report.

“Eighty-five percent of the deaths — 3.9 million people — were from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which moved up in that period of time to become the third leading cause of death, ahead of stroke in the United States.” There are many more references that state the same facts.

This is despite the fact that cigarette smoking has decreased. The CDC states, “Current smoking has declined from 20.9 percent (nearly 21 of every 100 adults) in 2005 to 13.7 percent (nearly 14 of every 100 adults) in 2018, and the proportion of ever smokers who have quit has increased.”

It is time that climate change deniers face the fact that the same pollutants that are at least partially responsible for climate change are unquestionably responsible for increased mortality from respiratory disease and this does not even account for the other carcinogens in our air and water that lead to extremely high medical costs and mortality.

Paul E. Lehmann


(35) comments

Obadiah Plainsmen

Why online shopping is inconvenient and hard to do.

1. No internet access.

2. Don't own a Computer.

3. Don't own a cell phone

4. Must drive or walk to have access to internet and or computer (public library) when brick and mortar store is closer.

5. Not tech savvy or smarter than your phone.

6. Live next store to shopping mall.

7. You live off the grid.


Sounds more like when than why. You begged the question.


1. No vehicle to get to a store.

2. No vehicle to get to a store.

3. Don't own a vehicle

4. brick and mortar store is far away (For 5 years I lived more than 6 miles from the nearest retail establishment of any kind. It was a gas station. The second closest retail establishment was 9 miles away.

5. Vehicle doesn’t work and you aren’t tech savvy enough to fix it.

6. Live next door to a dead mall.

7. You live without fossil fuels and can’t afford a coal-powered car.

Boyce Rensberger

Just to be clear, the main greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane) do not cause respiratory illness. The writer conflates two very different phenomena.


Boyce, while you are correct, the combustion of fossil fuels does create pollutants that do cause respiratory illness among other issues.

Boyce Rensberger

Yes, but way less than a generation ago.


That may be true but we have a long way to go. For example just with coal fired power plants alone (from EPA's web page:

There are about 1,400 coal- and oil-fired electric generating units (EGUs) at 600 power plants covered by these standards. They emit harmful pollutants, including mercury, non-mercury metallic toxics, acid gases, and organic air toxics such as dioxin.

Power plants are currently the dominant emitters of mercury (50%), acid gases (over 75%) and many toxic metals (20-60%) in the United States. In 1990 the power plants emitted (to the air) about 59 tons of mercury a year and in 2005 that number was down only to 53 tons per year whereas for municipal waste combustors the reduction over the same period was from 57 tons down to 2 tons per year and for medical waste incinerators the reduction was from 51 tons down to 1 ton per year.

Clearly while coal fired power plants have made progress, they have much further to go just for mercury alone.

Worse yet, under Trump's administration EPA has rolled back some of its protection and proposals to allow the energy sector to avoid additional controls of their pollution. Again on EPA's page it states "...the Agency proposes to determine that it is not “appropriate and necessary” to regulate HAP [Hazardous Air Pollutant] emissions from power plants under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act. The emission standards and other requirements of the MATS [Mercury and Air Toxics Standards] rule, first promulgated in 2012, would remain in place, however, since EPA is not proposing to remove coal- and oil-fired power plants from the list of sources that are regulated under Section 112 of the Act." EPA came to that determination in part by not counting the benefit of all pollutants being reduced by added controls but only specific pollutants that were intended to be controlled (e.g., the benefit of reducing Hg, but not NOx was counted in the cost benefit analysis). So The deck was stacked as it were.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Continuing from the same report (webmd) that Mr Lehmann cited:

"Lead investigator Laura Dwyer-Lindgren could not pinpoint the reasons for the dramatic rise, but noted, "both mortality rates, and changes in mortality rates over time, differed considerably among counties for all different types of chronic respiratory diseases."

"Residents of central Appalachia were found to face the highest risk of death from COPD and pneumoconiosis. Interstitial lung disease-related death risk was highest across the Southwest, northern Great Plains, New England and South Atlantic. Asthma posed the biggest risk in Georgia, South Carolina, and across the southern half of the Mississippi River. And death risk from all other chronic respiratory illnesses was greatest in the South, across states from Mississippi to South Carolina".

But not all the news was bad.

The mortality rate for the respiratory illnesses actually peaked at more than 55 out of 100,000 in 2002, and then declined to nearly 53 by 2014. Dwyer-Lindgren said that may be due to the relatively recent -- and ongoing -- drop in smoking rates.

"Tobacco smoking is a major contributor to chronic respiratory disease mortality," she said. "But there is often a substantial lag between initiating smoking and experiencing negative health outcomes, so the increase and peak in smoking prevalence that occurred decades ago were reflected in the increase and peak in chronic respiratory disease mortality more recently," Dwyer-Lindgren explained.

Dr. David Mannino, co-author of an editorial accompanying the report in the journal, suggested that the current risk trend likely "reflects a number of factors, including historical and current smoking patterns, poverty, dietary factors, occupational exposures and other potential factors."

But, he added, "I think the good news is that, over the last 30 years or so, we have made great advances in understanding, preventing and treating chronic respiratory diseases. We have had some great successes. But [we] still have challenges that remain, and will need to be addressed going forward."



Obadiah Plainsmen

But Mr.Lehmann letter does predict the future. Stronger hurricanes, tropical storms tornado outbreaks, droughts, floods, air pollution are all blamed on human activity caused climate change. In the next decade this debate will move from the Science room to the Court room, especially in underdeveloped countries. The destruction caused by the above coupled with high RX cost and other insurance people cannot afford to rebuild or get treatment so somebody has to be held responsible. Litigation will be the next front on the war with climate change.


Thank you for the well reasoned letter.


Yah, If you refuse to be against coal because you don't believe in climate change, then be against it because of pollution.


Mr. Lehmann,

While having my Monday morning fun I do not want to make light of your facts and the people who suffer from the respiratory illnesses.. No doubt your facts are correct Thankfully clean air initiatives have helped but I have always been amazed at the folks who jog along a busy thoroughfare. They may as well be sucking on a tail pipe.

But you raise an interesting point. How have these concentrated chemically altered gases affect the chemistry of the brain? Many of these folks no longer even know what sex they are. Bizarre, unnatural stuff comes from these Urban pockets of dense, concentrated gases. Thank goodness for the Electoral College. Could you imagine if we were ruled by these folks who are undergoing a bio-chemical alteration daily simply because there are more of them. Yes hopefully man will find ways to repair the environment and help.


Dude, you are heading off the deep end. That second paragraph is pure BS


Of late, jsk has been incorporating intentionally bizarre ideas. These supplement the unintentionally peculiar ones with which we are familiar.


Man *has* found ways to repair the environment. A cure for willful ignorance is still out of reach, however.




More and more delusional jsk...


Those chemically altered gases ( whatever you are talking about ) are about to get worse thanks to this administration.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Not According to Senate Environment Committee Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming. "Withdrawal of this policy means manufacturers, oil and gas operations, and other types of industrial facilities will have greater incentive to reduce emissions."


Obviously, the higher your emissions, the easier it is to reduce your emissions. If making something easier isn't an incentive, then online shopping is headed for a fall.


Gee OB, why would someone from Wyoming make such a statement. Could it have anything to do with being the second biggest producer of natural gas and a huge fracking state???

Obadiah Plainsmen

Why so pessimistic?


Or maybe pragmatic... A reasonable assumption.


History has clearly showed that unless forced, companies will not pay money to clean up their mess.

Obadiah Plainsmen


You bring up a good point of emissions and online shopping. Currently Amazon, FedEx, UPS combine use about 1100 jet fuel sucking,C02 spewing aircraft to deliver their packages world wide. Not to mention the thousands and thousands of gas sucking CO2 spewing deliver trucks to bring it to the customers door. And the electricity you use to power your computer was probably produced by coal. However if you would drive your EV to a brick and mortar store and buy your item that would help in being part of the solution.


OB, You missed my point, possibly intentionally. I was taking the Reagan approach to middle reduction. So much easier when you have more of them.


...missile ... Darn auto-incorrect.

Anyway, I don't think you've made a good case that online shopping isn't easy. Could you explain that again.

Obadiah Plainsmen

I understood it I like to use the analogy of these billionaires that signed that agreement to give away half of their fortune. When it all said and done they are still billionaires. Too late in the evening to explain it again. Just go with the flow, everything you do as a human destroys the climate.


Not pessimistic, just realistic!


OB, I can’t argue with logic like that.

Maybe tomorrow you’ll have time to explain why online shopping is inconvenient and hard to do. I’ll look for your response.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Sorry Public I didn't post my response in the correct place.


The rural folks are undergoing a more severe epidemic from opiates jsk. And are you saying that LGBTQ people are born in the urban areas only?? You were born in the City??? Bizarre and unnatural is a pretty good description of your thought processes. Peace!


Any impact like that is not likely to be caused by air pollutants but by water pollutants. There are no Primary drinking water standards for pharmaceuticals. For example, hormones that are dumped down the toilet or pass through our bodies are discharged into the surface waters and are not necessarily taking out at downstream public water systems. I have wondered whether or not our pharmaceuticals are responsible for the increased number of male fish in the Potomac that develop eggs.


Holy cow, Jim. Can you show any proof that people change sex because of air pollution. This is the most bizarre of all of your comments, except maybe your belief of Donald Trump's lies about Ukraine.

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