Viewpoint: Climate Change — Don’t Wait

By Fred Benson


Mr. Tom Rolfes, in his commentary titled, “2010 to 2020: The best decade in human history,” (Islander, Feb. 27) reaches three bold conclusions: “We are living through the greatest improvement in human standards in history;” “There is nothing alarming or catastrophic about our climate;” and having denied the existence of global warming, nevertheless recommends that studying conversion to fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) “perhaps is a way for the Island to go.”

Part one is an impressive listing of beneficial human developments. It does, however, appear to be an attempt to set the stage for Part 2 by implying that the global climate is a part of this good news summary.

In Part 2, he cites sources that under scrutiny undercut his conclusion that CO2 has miniscule effect on climate. He identifies Pierre L. Gosselin as a credible scientist who plays a leading role in the climate denier environment.

Gosselin is the author of the climate skeptic blog, and owns a small business doing communication work for various industries. He received an Associate Degree in civil engineering at Vermont Technical College, a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and currently lives in Germany.

In his current blog (Feb. 6.), titled “Climate and Energy News from Germany in English,” he admits, “I’ve always been a skeptic of the hypothesis mankind is causing catastrophic global warming. I’m not convinced of any one particular position, and so my non-alarmist view could change at any time. Only the tip of the iceberg is known about climate change. There’s so much that remains unknown.” Hardly a rock-solid position. Of his own work, Gosselin openly discloses that, “this blog is strictly for fun, learning, and free speech.”

Mr. Rolfes also cites the work of Richard Lindzen, an MIT professor who in 2015 published previously debunked claims denying evidence of climate change in the Wall Street Journal. This was done to support a fellow skeptic named Willie Soon who was to testify before Congress. It all fell apart when members of Congress learned that Soon was being paid $1 million by fossil fuel interests.

Official projections from NASA and other Government scientists have closely matched the recorded warming increases for decades. Lindzen’s predictions were way off. (Source: Huffington Post, March 6, 2015.)

Mr. Rolfes also highlighted UN data suggesting that the population growth rate has halved from 1950 to the present. That same report, however, paints a starkly different end result. World population was 2.5 billion in 1950; will be 7.7 billion in 2020; and is forecast to reach 9.5 billion by 2050, with more than 50 percent of the growth coming in Asia and Africa, areas uniquely vulnerable to climate change. (Source: The United Nations.)

Climate change presents a challenge that can’t be ignored. The young Americans protesting inaction have it right. It is close to being too late to recover. Let’s not risk it

Fred Benson is a resident of Mount Desert and publishes Capitol Commentary, an independent political newsletter.

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