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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about food inflation and the implications of India's Tata Nano.

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Regarding your Jan. 18 editorial "The global grain bubble": You correctly connected the dots between global unrest and the insatiable appetite for energy by Europe and America. Clearly, the need to explore solar, hydrogen, and other new technologies – despite their initial modest impact on our energy consumption – is the key to breaking out of the box that our fossil-fuel economy has created.

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Whether it is food riots or further global warming, we will continue to see far-reaching consequences undeniably connected to such shortsighted strategies as corn-based ethanol.

By now, time is precious in the much-needed struggle to change how we think of our lives and our world.

David E. Morse
Newcastle, Maine

What it means to mobilize the masses

Regarding the Jan. 18 article, "Could the 'Nano' put India's masses behind the wheel?": India's Tata Motors unveiled the world's cheapest car, the $2,500 Nano. Nothing prevented American companies from doing something similar. The fact is, they didn't. And we wonder why so many of our companies are in freefall.

Tata Motors is likely to break into American front pages again some time this year, when they are rumored to show off their hydrogen car. They are reported to be working with the Indian Space Research Organization to produce the engine for a hydrogen car. That's like GM or Ford collaborating with NASA to leverage their expertise.

We can only hope and pray that such collaborative work happens. That's a great bet for generating shareholder value and jobs in the next decade.

Nagananda Kumar
Los Angeles

In response the the Jan. 18 article on the Tata Nano: The super-inexpensive car is touted as bringing mobility to the masses of India, and the article focused on the miracle of making such an inexpensive car and the lust with which Indian car-show attendees viewed it. There was not a single word about the global warming impact of such a development.

Most climatologists and the National Academy of Sciences agree that controlling our greenhouse gas emissions is perhaps the single most daunting challenge of the human species. It is an issue that, finally, is making it to the forefront of people's consciousness.

It seems fairly important to me to report on the amount of new greenhouse gas we can expect from this development, how that compares with other emerging or established economies, and the view of the Indian government regarding this issue.

Jeffrey Beeman
El Sobrante, Calif.