Mailport June 2013 Issue

Mailport: June 2013

Lehr Emissions

The February 2013 review of the new Lehr propane outboard motor had two sentences that caught my eye. The first was the claim that because of more complete fuel combustion, the motor has zero emissions. Complete combustion of one mole of propane yields four moles of water and three moles of carbon dioxide, both of which are important greenhouse gases. While we should all try to be green, claims of zero emissions for anything should be treated with skepticism. For example, zero emissions cars are a euphemism for “emissions occur somewhere else and are not counted.” Another point concerning the Lehr outboard: It uses disposable propane canisters; while it is possible in principle to recycle them, many will end up in landfills.

A second sentence, concerning environmental degradation in the North Sea, was right on the money: “Our technologies are vastly more powerful than our environment.” I could not agree more. The following bumper sticker recently appeared in Maine: “Don’t worry about the environment—it will go away.”

Mark Van Baalen, Ph.D.
Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.

Next: SSB Lead-In

Comments (2)

Meant to write "really J.F" oops

Posted by: michael d | June 2, 2013 3:40 PM    Report this comment

Really J.V.? Sailors value personal liberty and as far as I know it is still legal in this country to criticize government incompetence.
Michael Dion

Posted by: michael d | June 2, 2013 3:38 PM    Report this comment

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