Obstinate world view

To the Editor:

Apparently, frequent letter writer Tom Rolfes subscribes to the dictum that if one repeats a falsehood enough times, people will believe it. Rolfes states time and again that there hasn’t been any “noticeable” warming of Earth’s climate over the past 18 years. This is not true.

Overwhelming evidence from diverse scientific disciplines, including climatology, oceanography, ecology, entomology and other biological fields, all lead to the consensus accepted by the majority of scientists: that the Earth is in a period of accelerated warming. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration supports this consensus with easily understood data and graphs available on its website.

Rolfes seems to believe that, even if there is some warming going on, humans have nothing to do with it. Hogwash. Is it really so incomprehensible to Rolfes, or anyone else for that matter, that the tremendous quantities of carbon and other emissions generated through human activity are changing the Earth’s atmosphere, and with it our climate?

The latest concern is over methane leaks from fracking extraction, which appear to be of much greater magnitude than previously thought. This is worrisome because methane is far more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2.

Rolfes categorically states that renewables are not and never will be cost-effective. Again, simply untrue. Leaving aside the question of whether Rolfes is an economist, what he is in effect saying is that although technological advances in other fields have improved efficiency and lowered costs, technology can do nothing for renewables. This despite well publicized reports that the cost of solar panels has dropped, wind turbines are better engineered, and the private sector is investing significant sums in improving energy storage technology. Tesla is betting $5 billion on this.

Rolfes appears to believe that changing from a society based on fossil fuels to one based on renewable energy is foolish, risky and a major economic threat. Once again, wrong on all counts.

There is tremendous economic opportunity and numerous benefits to be gained from making this transition. The Earth’s finite fossil fuel reserves are an extremely valuable resource for composites manufacturing, plastics, pharmaceuticals, etc. Burning them all up for fuel is going to seem very foolish to future generations.

In light of Rolfes’ indefatigable support of the status. quo one has to wonder, is he now, or has he ever been, a paid member of the petroleum industrial complex? Or is he simply a contrarian modern day Luddite? This is not said as an insult, but rather as the only plausible explanations (to me, anyways) for his obstinacy on this issue.

Steve Eddy


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