Windows on the World of Raymond Plank
Founder, Apache Corp
Vol. 2010 No. 2
Two Topics:  Earth Warming & Iceland Volcano

Finally I’ve delineated the difference of subject material I seek to cover in Windows and my memoir.  Windows will deal with current subject matter deemed relevant of commentary, while the memoir about lifetime learning experiences, represents corollary dimension which may include the interest of young adults.  Technology advances more rapidly than human psychology; while the interplay has been important for me to seek to understand.


Earth warming is addressed below from the scientific base of learning and management skills of Mike Bahorich, an Apache Executive Vice President well chosen and greatly appreciated.






Regarding global warming, I am not an expert in the field.  However, I have found it to be well understood that climate and sea level are always changing and that the rate of change is driven by many variables, some of which are only poorly understood.  The majority of scientists appear to believe that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have had a measurable impact on climate.  What is less clear is how severe the change in climate will be in the future and what impact that will have on humans.  By 2100, sea level is predicted to rise by one foot, which is equivalent to the observed increase from 1860 to today. 


Having said that, my study of the earth has taught me that our planet is very complex and that we may not be able to predict every detail regarding the impact of increased CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels.  Humans will adapt to a one foot sea level rise over the next century if indeed sea level rises as predicted.  Unfortunately, it is easier to correlate a person’s political party with their global warming belief than it is to correlate the effects on climate from burning fossil fuels.


What I am quite certain about is that the current administration’s efforts to forge a climate bill are misguided.  Congress does not seem to understand the concept of a cost benefit analysis.  The only thing for sure is that middle men will profit from cap and trade, while global CO2 concentrations will continue to increase.  The plan that congress has put forward will achieve trivial reductions in US greenhouse gases at enormous cost. This is a terrible excuse for leadership and vision.


The real trick is to get politicians on both sides of the aisle to admit that they need to refocus their energies doing something positive, affordable, and likely to create lots of jobs.  Natural gas is a big part of the near term solution.  If CO2 is a problem, then the most cost effective solution is to burn less coal and more natural gas, which emits about half of the carbon.  This would help the power industry curb CO2 emissions at a relatively low cost per ton.  To further reduce CO2 and stimulate the US economy, this administration should encourage the use of natural gas in the transportation sector.  Natural gas directly and indirectly created 400,000 new jobs from 2006 – 2008.


We have an opportunity to strengthen our economy and reduce C02.  That should make both sides of the aisle happy.



Mike Bahorich






My comments suggest a preface.  The political correctness set and the Al Gore club may wish to deal with the “fall out” from the Iceland volcano in a dual sense.  As well as increasing the impact upon a still shaky domestic economy with world economic ramifications, which like tectonic plates, have once again smashed into each other, and caused the bowels of the earth to “throw up.”  Meteorologists add to their basis for concern that another nearby dormant volcano, which historically follows in a relatively short time frame and may soon do so, which I note, but do not comment on.


In bridging from the volcano to the economy, it may be well to note that in the revising priorities of our country’s interests, the economy is sandwiched between humanitarian and environmental objectives.  If the politicians are following those of us “in the street” who are in rising indignation, with greater determined commitment than I’ve noted possibly as far back as December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor triggered WWII, which I experienced at depth.


Most long-neglected issues which go unattended until too late, have the capacity to join (bring together) major influences and interests, until they merge and dominate, even as U.S. conflicted individual interests gain the force of avalanche and crisis response makes matters worse versus better.


Back to the frequent occurrence of volcanoes (earthquakes, tsunami/tidal waves) as related earth phenomena, we have reason to be concerned with potential domino effect, weakened economy, which while recovering is on life support in the oxygen tent. 


The massive volcano fallout apparently costs the airlines a billion dollars per week. 


Airports closed as far away as Australia in the southern hemisphere, stranding thousands of travelers and angering them, even as the economic impact on airlines spreads to tourism, a significant source of revenue and income. 


In those countries whose economic sustainability interacts with the commerce of trade among nations but whose businesses are more centrally government owned than privately operated, the economic impact fall out both domineers and compounds.


Those who have lost their jobs, have one set of concerns.  Those who have also lost a large portion of retirement funding, have another related concern which frightens them.  When the third fear, like a stream merging into a river, is inflation, the elements join at the hip.


Inflation is when a loaf of bread costs $100.  It’s happened before.  When Hitler came to power, he rode the anger of inflation, where a week’s groceries when available, caused Germany to issue billion Deutschemark notes, also cost a generation exceeding a million human lives in a then smaller world.   


My first (of few science teachers) used to expound a pair of observations in grade 11 students.  “For every force applied, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Work is measured in foot pounds.  If you push or lean against the building, and it doesn’t move a foot, you haven’t accomplished any work.” 


In the next Windows on the World, I reflect on the Securities & Exchange Commission litigation with Goldman Sachs.


Following that, John Gulla, head of Blake School, and Chairman of the Raymond Plank founded Fund for Teachers, addresses pre K-12 youth education progress or decline over the past 20 years.