Viewpoint: 2010 to 2020 – The best decade in human history

The last 10 years was the best decade in human history.

2019 was the year children were least likely to die.

Adults were least illiterate.

And people least likely to suffer excruciating disfiguring diseases.

Every single day another 325,000 people got first access to electricity.

More than 300,000 got piped water for the first time for every day.

650,000 went online for the first time every single day.

As recently as 1950, 27 percent of children died by age 15. Now it has dropped to 4 percent.

In 1981, 42 percent of the planet’s population lived in extreme poverty, less than $2 per day. Now, it’s less than 10 percent.

Every day for a decade, 170,000 moved out of extreme poverty, and 245,000/day live >$10/day.

We are living through the greatest improvement in human living standards in history.

Famine virtually went extinct, with malaria, polio, and heart disease all in decline.

We are getting more sustainable, not less, in the way we use our planet.

We are getting more efficient in the use of raw materials, fossil fuels, biomass, etc., and much of it has been recycled.

We use 65 percent less land to produce a given quantity of food than 50 years ago. Improvements in efficiency require cheap energy, and more of it, to continue this progress.

Pierre L. Gosselin points out that 2019 Science refutes climate alarm on every front … shrinking desert, growing islands, crumbling consensus, weaker storms, cooler Artic, etc., showing there’s nothing alarming or catastrophic about our climate. The article lists 65 points from over 100 peer reviewed papers during the last 12 months.

From “Our World in Data,” … “the world population growth has halved from above 2 percent per year 50 years ago to 1.05 percent per year.”

And the United Nations expects that annual increase to decline by 1 million every year, not due to extreme poverty, or extreme weather, but as a matter of personal choice of not having infants. Prosperity is the world-wide reason for declining birth rates. Life expectancy has doubled in every region in the world.

As to the climate itself, in a recent summary 106 scientific papers now show that CO2 has a miniscule effect on climate.

And scientists are finding ocean heat change rate and Earth’s energy balance is in decline since 2000.

Another recent study finds CO2’s greenhouse effect contribution and sensitivity are much smaller than claimed by the IPCC and proponents of anthropogenic global warming. CO2’s contribution is minimal (7.3 percent), and CO2 sensitivity is just 0.6degC upon doubling of CO2 concentration.

New research highlights how plants are slowing global warming. The boom of vegetation from increased gas emissions (CO2), could be skewing our perception of how fast we’re warming the planet.

The claims of an alleged “97 percent consensus” of scientists on catastrophic man-made climate change are pulled from thin air, and not based on any credible research whatever, a quotation from UN IPCC lead author Dr. Richard Tol. From MIT climate scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen: “It’s propaganda.”

But, the Town of Bar Harbor has declared a “Climate Emergency”, (as expressed by Mount Desert Island High School and COA students back in November of 2019), and has created a Climate Task Force to respond; a nine member group, with a hired consultant to help lead it.

If the citizens of MDI are to participate in resolving this “emergency,” the first step, it would seem, is to define what exactly is the emergency, and what is the cause that taking specific actions by MDI citizens can resolve.

Conversely, what will steps like cutting CO2 emissions on the island actually do? We would need to define what amount of CO2 we can actually reduce with any proposals made, and at what expense to the community. If some action needs to be started quickly, we need to know what is the most effective action that can be taken, and what effect we might expect it will have for the effort.

One possible consideration might be to research fuel cell vehicles production and hydrogen production for propulsion of these vehicles. This technology is currently being used by Amazon to propel their forklifts. Trucks and buses are using them for zero emission vehicles, mostly so far in California. The advantages are zero emissions of course. Fuel cells produce nothing but electricity and water. I have seen pictures of people drinking the water from the tail pipe. These fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) combine hydrogen stored in a tank, with oxygen from the air to produce electricity. These vehicles don’t need to be plugged in, and current vehicles get more than 300 miles of range on a tank. And they fill up as quickly as traditional gas and diesel vehicles.

A quick check indicates there are two fueling stations in the Northeast, one in Massachusetts, owned by Air Liquide, on MA-128 near Newton. So, as a first step, one might consider contacting/visiting that station to see what it’s all about. Size, storage of hydrogen, what pressures, etc.

I could see a situation where Island Explorer busses get switched to FCEVs, which would mean a fueling station could soon appear on the Island. Sticker shock for consumer vehicles now is high, but it’s coming down. Meanwhile, if we could get the busses to switch, leading to fueling stations, and then more trucks on the east coast that come up to Maine. If we have fuel stations on I-95, it could be a feasible solution, and we all win. There is a ferry in San Francisco operating on fuel cells.

I question the true existence of a climate emergency, but if we need to study an actionable solution, perhaps FCEVs is a way for the island to go.

Tom Rolfes

Somesville and Cincinnati

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