A challenge accepted

In response to Larry Kirkland’s Dec. 29 letter to the editor:

1. The Paris Accord is nonbinding. Each country makes their own goals and plans.

2. Even if addressing climate change costs trillions (which would be called “investment” and “job creation” in any other context), this needs to be balanced against the alternative costs of increased wildfires, flooding, droughts, famines, invasive species, land lost to sea level rise, civil unrest, etc.

3. The idea that solar panels are environmentally harmful is almost too stupid to argue with. Those “millions of acres” will be primarily on rooftops, wasted space near where the power is needed. What land clean energy does consume will be a fraction of the habitat loss that will result from climate change.

4. Windmills do kill birds, but for the same amount of energy produced, coal pollution kills roughly 10 times as many.

5. Numerous companies are developing the technologies needed to store wind and solar energy to accommodate their intermittent nature, such as massive batteries, capacitor banks, hydrogen fuel cells and pumped-storage hydropower.

6. The costs of wind and solar have dropped dramatically. It’s now cheaper to build new solar than to operate existing coal plants.

7. Coal and oil are also heavily subsidized and always have been.

Every one of Larry’s questions has an easy answer if he had bothered to look.

Furthermore, it’s specious reasoning to argue the drawbacks of change without considering the benefits, or the pros and cons of doing nothing.

We’re on the hook either way at this point; the only real question is whether we’d rather pay for new infrastructure, technology, and a healthy environment or do nothing and spend the same money on rebuilding burnt and flooded cities, migrating entire populations, and living in ravaged, barren landscapes instead.

Ryan Urie


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