Readers write: battery revolution; relocate New Orleans

Letters to the editor for the Sept. 19, 2015 weekly magazine.

Courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory
Lynn Trahey tests batteries at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.

People power for better batteries
With the maturing of battery technology, the last building block in the edifice of carbon-free energy falls into place. The Aug. 31 cover story, “The battery revolution,” lays that out clearly, but it unfortunately misses an important point. It is urgent that the transformation happen soon to avert the worsening of climate disruption beyond tolerable limits. Global carbon-limiting agreements must be in place in just a few years. And we’ll be on the way to a carbon-free energy world in just a couple of decades.

The technology is ready, and the economics are favorable. The only barrier is politicians, in thrall to the fossil fuel industry, who refuse to put measures in place that will accelerate the transformation. Polls show that citizens in large numbers feel the urgency and support the needed measures but are strangely silent, given the consequences of inaction. The time is now for people to exercise their voice and tell the politicians to get on with it.

William H. Cutler
Union City, Calif.

Time to relocate New Orleans
Regarding the Aug. 17 & 24 cover story, “Reborn on the bayou”: Victor Hugo wrote in “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” that “there will be a new Paris every fifty years.” Surely the same could be said of New Orleans, a much younger city than Paris. But rather than build this new New Orleans on top of the old, wouldn’t it be much smarter to use the tens of billions of dollars of federal money, tax dollars, and private investment pouring in to move the city to higher ground?

Small buildings and those of historical significance, such as many in the French Quarter, can be moved to a new site by the same method NASA used for transporting space shuttles weighing 5,500 tons (without fuel) from the vertical assembly building to the launchpad.

As the sea level rises over the next century because of global warming, many coastal cities will need to move all or part of themselves further inland. New Orleans should be leading the way.

Eric Klieber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

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