Buyer beware

To the Editor:

Islander letter writer John Fehlauer once again takes me to task over my critique last week on Gary Friedmann’s MDI group, A Climate to Thrive (ACTT).

Not to go round and round on these issues, my comments are to be very careful before buying into any attempt to isolate MDI from a power standpoint by using solar panels.

I for one would like to see some real numbers on the cost of solar. No question solar panels do generate power, and perhaps enough for MDI … at some times during a day when the sun is out and the roof isn’t covered with snow.

As to my other comments, taken out of context by Fehlauer; I wasn’t suggesting replacing Emera service with a natural gas system, but it’s a good idea! If solar is taken to a large scale and Emera has to buy back the excess power generated on MDI, it will be at the expense of other Mainers. That is because of the cost of transmission will need to be borne by the rest of Maine.

And it doesn’t save emissions, as Emera needs to have backup plants idling, at inefficient usages to cover the cloudy day (or night) when the sun doesn’t shine. I doubt anyone is planning to convert their oil heater for an electric one, but maybe?

I don’t think solar is affordable if there aren’t government rebates/assistance.

As to other “warming” comments, the Northwest Passage has been made many times before. But certainly hats off to Crystal Serenity on the most recent passage.

David Scott Cooper made the passage, solo, three times between 1986 and 2009. And word has it that Arctic ice is now growing strongly after the “minimum Arctic sea ice extent” (an area of 4.083 million sq. km.) passed on Sept. 7.

That number is 22 percent greater than in 2012, despite two major storms in August that led to break up of ice.

I wouldn’t worry about our lobsters too much, as Maine has had a great year. And yes, there has probably been a reduction of catch further south, but remember, at one time, people could wade into the water and pick up lobster by hand. There is still lobster to be had offshore further south. Perhaps it’s the catch regimen adhered to by Maine lobstermen that continues to contribute to local success.

As to the warmest year on record, it depends on whose “record” you check.

Realize that the “consensus” in the 1960s and ‘70s was that the Earth had been cooling for decades. This little fact was removed from the Wikipedia record, the world’s most influential and accessed informational source.

That’s why it’s important to understand that CO2 is a nutrient essential to life, and that CO2 at current levels and higher enables plants, trees and crops to grow faster and more efficiently. Because plants use sunlight to combine CO2 molecules from the air with water molecules to make carbohydrates, we need CO2 in the atmosphere. At CO2 levels less than 150 ppm, most plants stop growing, which is why I often remark that we need more CO2 in the air, not less. At 400 ppm, CO2 levels are still much less than optimum for most plant growth.

Again, I suggest being careful before buying, especially buying in to Gary Friedman’s ACCT’s group for MDI.

Tom Rolfes


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