Should fireplace fires be
Jeffrey Earl Warren
Friday November 23, 2007
Under the auspices of the Bay Area Air Quality Management
District, "public hearings" are being held to determine
the fate of the family hearth.
Those of us who live in rural areas have a pretty good idea what
the outcome is going to be.
Still, in the interest of basic fairness, we'd at least like
the decision-makers to employ the rudiments of the scientific
method, rather than riding the winds of energy dependence and
global warming hysteria, before coming to a final decision.
The scientific method follows a rigid methodology. Ask a question.
Do background research. Construct a hypothesis. Test the hypothesis.
And then, communicate the results.
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So what is the question? Are the fires in our homes bad because
they add to global warming? Release carbon dioxide into the air?
Pollute the atmosphere with soot and particulate matter? All of
Where is the research? The Chronicle reported that "government
studies" indicate that 33 percent of all "particulate
matter" comes from your fireplace and mine. With all the
industry and all the cars in the Bay Area, does anyone actually
Shouldn't we be given more quantitative information such has,
"How many fireplaces are there in the nine counties? How
many are used each night? How many hours is each fireplace used?
How much "particulate matter" is expelled from each
fire? How many parts per million are in the air? How much dissipates
into the atmosphere?"
Is this decision truly about air quality or global warming?