Environmental Benefits of Electric Cars
The article "L.A. Launches Electric Car," Dec. 11, does an excellent job describing the technological advancements of the new electronic vehicle (EV) being developed by CleanAir Transport.In the conclusion of the article, however, the author states that "increased demands on plants that generate electricity by burning coal would worsen smog, ozone, and atmospheric greenhouse-effect levels." According to studies conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute, EVs are 95 percent cleaner com- pared to the gasoline-powered counterparts. This evaluation takes into account the emissions associated with increased off-peak electricity used for charging. The electric utility industry will continue its efforts to enhance EV development. Electrifying the nation's transportation system is an environmentally acceptable solution to the country's air quality problems. Thomas D. Morron, Washington, Edison Electric Institute
Home vs. public schooling The Home Forum page essay "Letting Go of Home Schoolers," Dec. 12, raises some compelling questions concerning education. The author discusses how he taught his daughters four hours each day. I think most teachers, given just two students, could do the same. Hence the issue can be reduced to numbers. Public schools are doomed to fail as long as teachers are regularly handed 100 to 150 students. Of course, the solution isn't to allot one teacher for every two students, but a balance needs to be established. As a teacher who left public schools to work in a friend's school, I feel schools offer something the home cannot: the opportunity to be part of a vibrant community; to learn much more than history or algebra while involved in the shared experience of living and working together. Learning to build and nurture community is a crucial role for schools and the best argument in their favor. Mark R. Hiza, Westtown, Pa.
Evaluating the UN I appreciate the opinion-page article on the United Nations "The UN on a Roll," Dec. 3. However, the author refers to "the UN's bloated, patronage-filled bureaucracy" and cites no authority. Having been associated with the UN system (as an US diplomat, an UN system official, and a professor) for 46 years, I believe that the Secretariat is not "bloated." And, even though the overall quality and high motivation of staff has declined somewhat since the early years, the Secretariat is not "filled" with patronage appointments. I also reject the author's insistence that the Secretariat needs to be more responsive to "social, economic, and environmental" problems. Members of the international staff have been more responsive than most governments. Many complain that the Secretariat is too sensitive and ready to act on world problems. John E. Forbes, Asheville, N.C.
Regarding the article "UN Keeps Nation's Focus On Needs of Children," Oct. 29: The UN's goal to focus on the children is a sound idea, especially to improve the health care of children worldwide. It was promising to note that 80 percent of the world's children under age 1 have now been immunized due to UN efforts. This is a great accomplishment for the UN, one that should be congratulated. S. Stockwell, Rexburg, Idaho