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The hot debate

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
July 17, 2012 1:21:44 PM PDT
Yes it's hot. That's what happens in summer sometimes. It gets hot.

That would be the normal kvetch on a July 17 when the temp in Central Park reaches the mid-90's (higher in some areas) and the humidity gives us a "real feel" of about 100.

But the whole discussion about weather these days is highly charged and highly tinged by the often vitriolic debate, if you can call it that, over climate change and global warming.

Lots of records broken so far this year - heat records - and there are many people who figure it must be tied to climate change and/or global warming. Hard to argue against that. But although it's intuitive to think that perhaps some of this is man/woman made, the hard truth is we just don't know for sure. It makes sense that carbon dioxide creation is at least partly our doing - and those who argue vehemently against it often do it because it's in their economic/business interest to stake that claim.

But hard proof is difficult to come by. In the meantime, trying to reduce our carbon footprint can't be a bad thing, right?

I'm a big believer in the benefits of photovoltaic solar energy. Using the power of the sun to power our homes and offices just makes sense. And it's great that most utilities partner with their customers - and provide a huge chunk of the capital investment. That, coupled with the federal and state tax credits for installing solar, make it an attractive alternative energy source.

But there remains the obvious problem that the one-third or so capital investment required on a net-basis by homeowners is beyond most people's reach.

Why not offer homeowners interest-free loans for their share of all this - with folks paying the government back out of the money they save? Take a lien on the home for collateral - but get these panels up if it makes sense. It creates jobs and creates electricity.

I'm just sayin'.

Meteorologist Lee Goldberg will have the latest on the heat wave - the fourth of this season - tonight at 11 in his AccuWeather forecast. And we're interested in your thoughts about all this heat.

We're also following the legal travails of Kerry Kennedy, the ex-wife of New York Gov. Cuomo and a daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

Kennedy is due in court early tonight after she was busted for driving while intoxicated and hitting a tractor-trailer on a highway in Westchester County. Police say she told them she had taken Ambien. The police report said the 52-year-old Kennedy was swaying and had impaired speech and motor function.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

BILL RITTER

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