A bright future



To the Editor:

In his recent letter to the Islander, “Horse and Buggy Days,” Tom Rolfes once again made several arguments against established climate science. And once again they are not scientifically sound. He also asserts that fossil fuels are so good there is no need to consider alternatives, especially on Mount Desert Island. I strongly disagree.

We need to stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere as soon as possible, and renewable energy is essential. A change in government policies to favor the future over the past is long overdue.

But you don’t have to believe in climate science to like the economics of alternatives such as wind, solar and other renewables. Costs are dropping rapidly and will continue to drop. Also, renewable “fuels” – like wind and sunlight – are free and limitless, unlike fossil fuels. One of the reasons Verso gave for closing the Bucksport mill was “the rising cost of natural gas.”

Today, the economics of utility-scale renewables are generally as good or better than fossil-fuel alternatives. Globally, new investments in energy generation favor solar and wind over fossil fuels two to one. The new may not beat the old in all cases yet, just as cars didn’t always beat the horse and buggy about 120 years ago.

I believe human ingenuity can create a fossil fuel-free future while growing the economy.

MDI is in a great position to be a leader in showing how a community can move away from fossil fuels. We have access to world-class expertise at College of the Atlantic and the University of Maine, our size is manageable, and we have a motivated citizenry with a variety of relevant skills and experiences.

Discussing climate realities may seem like “fear mongering” to those who are in denial, but I view it as an energizing call to action. To me, the future looks breezy and bright.

John Fehlauer

Mount Desert

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