To the Editor: Mixed messages

To the Editor

The Viewpoint by Gary Friedmann (May 20) causes me considerable concern.

He’s talking about the solar power project in Salsbury Cove, and makes some good points about the price of solar panels getting low, and getting enough power to cover all the town’s operations, as well as the schools, and getting a reduction in power bills, etc. It’s impressive if the project can really save $20 million over the life of the system, and 25 percent on “our” electric bills.

I personally have great misgivings that these predictions will really be forthcoming. For example, I doubt that the life of the solar panel system will actually last past 15 years. But that’s to be determined. The troubling point to me is the fact that Mr. Friedman actually believes, or at least claims in publication, that, “We’ve only got 10 years to prevent runaway climate change from destroying our planet.”

Further, in an earlier edition (May 13), Islander reporter Dick Broom informs us that MDI High School is planning to add required classes so that all students will have a good understanding of climate science.

The problem is there are mixed needs or objectives here. It is one thing to operate the school, as Mr. Soares says, with the “…aim to reduce emissions and waste production by increasing our efficiency and use of climate-friendly alternatives,” if solar power will actually do that. Mr. Soares promises the school programs should include “an active effort to have a variety of people with different viewpoints in the discussion.”

It is my position that “becoming carbon neutral or even negative” is the wrong objective. There is no climate emergency, and in fact, we need more carbon (dioxide) emissions to help the planet grow the food we need to support our global population. A recent German study shows that the 100 ppm of CO2 added to our atmosphere over the last decades has resulted in 14 percent more vegetation over the last 100 years. “Since 1982, the inventory of trees has increased more than 7 percent.”

I would hope that the school program will give students a chance to research the issues carefully, and report on them, perhaps in the Islander.


Tom Rolfes

Somesville/Cincinnati, Ohio

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