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Letter: Steps to slow climate change have steep cost
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Rev. Bill Coates, the pastor at First Baptist Church in Gainesville, speaks during the “Climate Change: A Common Sense Approach and Free Market Solution,” forum and panel discussion at Brenau's Hosch Theatre in Gainesville, on Thursday, April 12, 2018. - photo by David Barnes

I attended the climate change program at Brenau University on April 12 and was not surprised by the emphasis placed on man-made global warming and the earth-ending consequences that follow if we don’t act to reduce CO2 emissions. Images of children were used to convince the audience that we must act immediately to save the Earth for them and future generations. Fortunately, I was spared the picture of the polar bear floating off in the distance clinging to a small piece of polar ice.

Dr. Mark Farmer, a nonclimate scientist, presented data supporting the man-made climate change hypothesis, which proposes that humans are the cause, and solution, to the dramatic rise in global temperatures. Dr. Farmer did a good job in presenting his argument but, of course, left out any data suggesting otherwise. For example, he stated that we were experiencing the highest temperatures in recorded history, which to be kind, is a misinterpretation of the facts. (Roman and medieval warm periods were warmer, reference UN IPCC reports one and two).

The presentations by local pastors, the Revs. Bill Coates and John Cromartie, were well done. Both stressed the obligation of Christians to care for God’s creation, which  requires the support of policies that reduce man-made CO2. The final speaker, Dr. Vernon Dixon, a global warming evangelist, presented his plan to prevent the apocalypse by placing a carbon tax on the fossil fuel industry.

All well and good, but that doesn’t mean that I, as a Christian and an environmentalist, must get on board with the “sky is falling” scenario. A Christian is to care both for the environment, and equally important, for the poor throughout the world.

The best predictor of quality of life and longevity in the Third World is the availability of cheap and reliable energy. At present this kind of energy comes from coal. If the impoverished nations cannot use fossil fuels, they will continue to struggle for existence and many will die due to restrictive energy policies. If we want to help the poor in these countries, we must support policies that provide for their energy needs. The only cheap energy source available to them for the foreseeable future is fossil fuel. Solar and wind-generated energy are decades away from meeting their need for cheap and reliable energy.

It is estimated that the United States’ commitment to the United Nations to reduce CO2 emissions by 28 percent will only prevent 0.03 degree Celsius in warming by the year 2100.  (reference Dr. Judith Curry, former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech). In addition, some economists estimate that it will cost $100 trillion to accomplish the 0.03 degree reduction by 2100.

I don’t believe that it is good stewardship to squander so much of our treasure on a hypothesis that is rejected by many renowned climate scientists around the world. An internet search by any fair-minded person will see that this is the case.

Francis T. Lake Sr.

Gainesville

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