Letters to the Editor

Readers discuss carbon statistics, the real problem of TV violence, home-loan tips, and the joys of small houses.

Another look at carbon calculations

In response to the April 26 article, "China moves to curb its carbon footprint": I believe that the reporting of countries' annual CO2 emissions would have more impact if they were given as per capita values rather than as a percentage of gross domestic product.

For example, in this article and other reports, we hear that China will shortly surpass the US as the global leader in greenhouse-gas emissions. However, if the values were reported on a per capita basis, the US would remain the undisputed leader in CO2 emissions – probably for years.

Perhaps more important is the residence time of human-produced CO2 in the atmosphere, estimated to be on the order of decades. If this is taken into account, the quantity of CO2 produced by the US and Western Europe over the past 50 years dwarfs that of China and the rest of the world combined. We American consumers could do much to reduce our emissions by demanding action from our elected leaders and by making energy-conscious decisions in terms of the purchases we make.

Karl W. Wegmann
Bethlehem, Pa.

Kids learn violence from scenes' intent

Regarding the April 30 article, "TV violence tough to curb despite FCC's new plea": The problem of violence on TV affecting our youth has little to do with the graphic aspect of its representation, and much more to do with the justification and motivation elements that lie underneath the violent acts being depicted. Watching some characters torturing a prisoner close-up in order "to obtain information that may save our country" may trigger fewer violent fantasies in a young person than watching a shooting rampage that's gratuitous and unwarranted, even if it is shot from a distance in a detached, nongraphic style.

Massimo Mazzucco
Los Angeles

Home-loan tips from a realtor

In response to the April 26 article, "Lenders act to limit US foreclosures": As a realtor, I can't tell you how many times I've seen home buyers who are shocked when I explain to them exactly what the terms of their loan really are.

Banks that are suffering as a result of foreclosures need to take a close look at how their loans are being presented. Buyers also need to examine their loan documents with a lot more care. They should find out how much the payment can go up in the future and under what circumstances.

They should also be aware of features such as negative amortization, teaser rates, and prepayment penalties. Finally, they should choose their loan officer with care. There will always be a con artist out there advertising a cheaper rate. But good loan officers want repeat business and referrals from their clients. They will go the extra mile to make sure you get a loan that is appropriate. That honesty is worth the extra cost.

Daniel Schein
San Jose, Calif.

The delight of diminutive dwellings

Regarding the April 20 article, "Incredible shrinking houses": My husband, dog, and I lived in a 32-foot-by-8-foot motor home for nine years, loving every minute of it. What discipline it forces a person to have in order to keep wardrobe and possessions from taking over precious space!

Now we have settled down. We have a 400-square-foot park model with 300 square feet of loft space. At times, the extra room is almost overpowering, and I need to be careful not to yield to the temptation of consumerism. But we truly love our small house, and I'm so happy that many more are realizing the comfort and coziness of small houses.

Dotty Davis
Glendale, Ariz.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to Op-Ed.

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