Moderating climate change

According to his May 27 column, Eugene Robinson seems to think President Barack Obama can single-handedly have a positive effect in moderating climate change by directing the Environmental Protection Agency to further clamp down on carbon dioxide and methane emissions. Good luck with that.

Robinson's on solid ground when he states humans have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide by more than 40 percent in the last 200 years, and that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere trap more heat.

Where his column starts to stray, however, is in the details of just how much the EPA should clamp down beyond what they already have. Never mind that the amount of energy-related carbon dioxide generated in the United States has already come down from its 2005 peak; does Robinson want us at zero -- while the rest of the world does exactly what to address the problem?

Rather than fiddle around the edges, Obama would be better off convening a blue-ribbon committee of scientists, engineers and economists to come up with a global path forward that doesn't crash our economy.

Harold Mantle

Lafayette

Trash mulching in Richmond

While driving on May 22, I witnessed a maintenance man on a riding lawn mower mowing the weeds, along with all the trash, in the median on Richmond Parkway.

So what was really accomplished by this so-called maintenance -- just distributing more trash that now cannot be picked up? Wouldn't it have made sense to pick up the trash first?

Our freeways and the parkway are strewn with trash, weeds and dead shrubs. They are an embarrassment! Richmond, the "City of Pride and Purpose" ... really?

In addition, the streetlights on the Richmond Parkway are mostly all off at night. What's up with that? It doesn't exactly help one to feel safe should you end up stranded on the parkway at night.

Susan Gaines

Richmond

Preventive care is essential

Half of the people infected with hepatitis C have not received proper follow-ups, so the patients are at risk for further complications, such as liver cancer, which are preventable.

Because the costs for health care are so high in the United States, patients may not return for follow-ups, fearing expensive hospital bills.

The solution to reduce the instances of several preventable diseases should not be creating new drugs, but reforming the health care system.

The current health care system is based on the concept of free-market capitalism, where health services can be bought and sold as a commodity. The current system is driven largely by market forces. The theory is that private health insurance companies seeking to maximize profit will compete with each other, thus, driving down costs. However, costs have continued to rise steeply because the current free market system is failing.

Therefore, an effective health care system that will drive down costs to promote patients to seek preventive care is needed.

Kuntal Chowdhary

Berkeley

EBMUD increasing rates yet again

A recent letter from Brian Deans exposed the funny numbers and reasoning the East Bay Municipal Utility District used in justifying its proposed rate increase.

For about 35 years, EBMUD has been using the same justifications for rate increases: drought; not getting enough income because we conserved too much; and the need for upgrades and seismic improvements.

Those of us in the hotter areas of EBMUD bore the brunt of the rate increases since they devised a much higher upper-tier rate for our usage. We saved, then instead of rewarding us they penalized us for conserving water.

Customers on the west side of the Caldecott undoubtedly have the need for more repairs and seismic improvements due to older infrastructure; therefore, they should pay more on a proportional basis. But that will never happen since the hot areas are outnumbered on the EBMUD board.

Since EBMUD is an unregulated monopoly, I suggest your editorial writer Daniel Borenstein investigate its salary and pension structure.

H. Tom Nelson

Danville