To the editor,

            Having recently finished the second edition to my Arctic Melting book, and perused the latest scientific findings, I am horrified at the state of our planet, and above all the future hellish climate that we are creating.  I have seen the massive changes in the Arctic first hand, in my short lifetime.  I am also concerned about the massive pollution found in the air monitoring station in Athens , Ohio , near my home.  The main cause of both problems is all of the coal power plants, that we need to replace fast with renewable energy sources.  Meanwhile, plans are going forward for scores more poison belching coal power plants.  These must be stopped immediately.

            Climate change threatens the lives of billions of people this century, according to top scientists like Sir. James Lovelock.  With tropical storm Fay, and now hurricane Gustav, along with the tornadoes and the second 500-year flood in 15 years on the Mississippi , we need to wake up and take strong action to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

            The record Arctic Ocean ice melt last year, as is also being seen this year, changed predictions made by scientists three years ago, of an ice-free Arctic Ocean as early as 2080, to the prediction of an ice-free Arctic Ocean as early as 2012.

            As the sea ice melts, more and more of the heat from the Arctic summer’s 24 hour sunlight is absorbed by the ocean.  While ice reflects up to 90 percent of the sun’s energy, the open ocean absorbs 90 percent of the solar heat.

            This and other mechanisms that scientists call positive feedbacks, are accelerating the warming caused by the greenhouse gas emissions.  This is a complex issue.  There are many greenhouse gas emissions, including fossil fuel burning, livestock, industrial agriculture and deforestation.  Burning coal is the largest single contributor to the climate crisis, and among the easiest to eliminate.

            The wonderful thing is the solutions solve many other problems.  Coal also causes particulate, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, radioactive and other pollution that kills hundreds of thousands of people each year.  The mining of coal is extremely damaging to the land and waterways.

            As a fisherman, I am outraged that I cannot safely eat the fish that could easily make up all of my protein.  With a fishing rod out as I edit books and read, I could easily meet my protein needs ecologically and healthily with fish.  But I would be so full of toxins if I did that, mostly from the burning of coal, that I rarely fish, even though it is among my favorite activities, and my favorite food.

            Despite their lip service about carbon sequestration, the new, so-called clean-coal power-plants proposed around me in southern Ohio , as well as the scores of proposed new facilities around the country do nothing to reduce carbon dioxide, the main culprit of climate change.  They do nothing about the impacts of mining, and they just turn the pollutants that they remove from the air into water pollution with easily soluble ash.

            Solar, wind, waste methane and geothermal energy can easily provide all of our energy needs, with current technology.  And the technology for all of these energy sources is fast improving.

            Coal must go.  I am tired of feeling so ashamed at my state as I travel around the continent speaking about climate changing, and witnessing the great transformation toward efficiency, conservation and renewable energy being shown around our country and our planet.

            We must rise up as citizens and overpower the corruptive influence of the coal industry that has many of our state governments and much of the federal bowing to their every wish.  The coal industry is threatening the lives of billions of people through climate change this century, and clean coal is an oxymoron.


Chad Kister

Athens , Ohio


Kister is the Author of Arctic Quest: Odyssey Through a Threatened Wilderness Area; Arctic Melting: How Climate Change is Destroying One of the World’s Largest Wilderness Areas and Against All Odds: The Struggle to Save The Ridges.  He is also the producer of the film, Caribou People.  The second edition of Arctic Melting is coming out this September, with 100+ more pages and thoroughly updated throughout.; 740-707-4110; 740-777-4056; 740-753-3888       


An electronic version of this is at