The Environmental/Climate Change Fossil Fuel Dilemma

While the entire issue of climate change, the use of fossil fuels and recycling are very complex and controversial, I was recently able to observe the breadth of the dilemma while standing in one place in the parking lot of my hotel on the shores of Lake Powell.

Behind me was a collection of refuse containers intended to separate glass, plastic, cans and trash.  The waste baskets in the room were also portioned into quarters, with appropriate labeling, and I was exhorted to reuse my towels to help protect the environment (or reduce the hotel’s costs).

On my right I could see Glen Canyon dam, constructed some 50 years ago, providing “clean” hydroelectric power.

In the vista in front of me were several hundred of the thousands of large houseboats that Lake Powell is famous for, and nearby were some of the SUV’s and other large motor vehicles which carry vacationers, and their stuff, from their homes to the houseboat fleet.  The aggregate consumption of gasoline and diesel was staggering.

Several miles in front of me, on the other side of Lake Powell, was a large coal fired power plant that produces more electricity than Hoover dam and Glen Canyon dam combined.  Most of the power from all of these generators, both hydro and coal, help to keep the lights on in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Go figure.

All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA®