Climate change has always been with us

Dear Editor:

As eloquent as Hendrik Gideonse’s June 14 letter to the editor was, he has many mixed up thoughts in his presentation. He seems to believe that climate change is a terrible thing, and that we need to end the use of fossil fuel for energy within 30 years.

The problem is that climate change has always been with us. It isn’t something new. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere has had little or nothing to do with global warming/climate change. “Compelling evidence shows global warming from fossil fuel use is modest and benign, and higher CO2 levels measurably benefit agriculture and natural ecosystems, outweighing hypothetical harms,” wrote Thomas Wysmuller NASA meteorologist (Ret.) of Ogunquit.

As for energy/electricity, we need to focus on reducing cost as much as possible, which means more production of electricity from coal, nuclear and natural gas. The belief that solar and wind can replace nuclear and fossil fuel electrical power plants is dangerous and expensive. It wouldn’t hurt to have a pipeline for natural gas feeding the power plants in Maine, as already the electricity costs are about 30 percent higher than in my hometown in Southern Ohio (5.59c/kWh from Dynegy to Cincinnati, vs. 7.23c/kWh latest FairPoint Energy offer for MDI).

Just saying that the technological and organizational requirements of batteries and microgrids associated with alternative energy sources such as wind and solar won’t work or be available within 30 years for sure. Modern civilization requires reliable and resilient electrical power.

Quoting an excerpt from power expert Vaclav Smil, writing in Spectrum, the publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE): “…our civilization continues to depend on activities that require large flows of energy and materials, and alternatives to these requirements can’t be commercialized at rates that double every couple of years. Our modern societies are underpinned by countless industrial processes that have not changed fundamentally in two or even three generations. These include the way we generate most of our electricity, the way we smelt primary iron and aluminum, the way we grow staple foods and feed crops, the way we raise and slaughter animals, the way we excavate sand and make cement, the way we fly, and the way we transport cargo.”

Tom Rolfes


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