Nevertheless, the potential for local effects deserves detailed studies, and it is conceivable that buffer, nonsolar zones around large arrays may be advised. Such arrays would not be built near large populations, so local heating would likely be inconsequential.
In “Congress Fails Science” [Perspectives], the editors propose that Congress is habitually inattentive to science and that this irresoluteness has persisted despite the shift of legislative power in 2007 to the Democrats. But like college students, Congress usually concludes most of its work in the last week or two of each session. Had the editors waited one month, they might have noticed that the moribund energy bill they cite has actually passed, as has the increase in fuel economy standards. Although Congress can be slow and indecisive, it was designed that way to minimize precipitous action. Do the editors really expect it, in less than a year and facing a dead-certain presidential veto, to pass a bill that would result in historically sweeping changes to our energy and environmental policies, to our economy and probably to our lifestyles? If nothing has happened in three to four years, they can get on their high horse. But now I would be concerned about the soundness of any major proposal that passed in a few months.
Editor's Note: This story was originally printed with the title "Letters"