Letters: Readers defend climate change, Greta Thunberg

The Detroit News
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg addresses plenary of U.N. climate conference during with a meeting with leading climate scientists at the COP25 summit in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.

Fighting green grid is fighting progress

In his latest column, "Do something about Greta Thunberg," Dec. 15, Nolan Finley says developed nations are closing down coal plants and replacing them with renewable plants. This is a huge generalization. China and India, two of the world's largest energy producers, have increased their coal imports consumption in the last few years.

While natural gas is better for the environment because it doesn't contain any sulfur, methane leakage of natural gas is worse for the environment than coal, and in some ways is speeding up climate change even more. By increasing the amount of natural gas production and consumption we are not getting ahead of climate change.

Through recent innovations, solar panels have become cheaper than ever. By fighting the transition to a green grid, you would literally be reversing mankind's forward progress.

Finley says we can leave our cars in our garages and walk more, but I know for a fact that my father could not walk to his job in Southfield every morning or to his favorite Meijer on 12 Mile and Telegraph to pick up groceries. It's very difficult in Michigan to walk to any destination.

I'm a capitalist and I love my country, but our decisions have not always produced the best outcomes and have not supported a transition to a green economy. There needs to be intervention in order to reach international goals laid out in the sustainable development goals.

Jack Gross, Franklin

Transition from coal is too slow

Nolan Finley implies that the "current deliberate approach to a carbon-free world" is sufficient. That the transition away from coal-fired power plants and internal combustion engine vehicles is moving quickly enough. This is untrue. Global emissions of CO2 are higher than ever, at about 41 billion metric tons per year, and are still rising.

As the recent U.N. Emissions Gap Report details, the countries of the world are not on target to meet their emissions reductions goals, and limiting temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, let alone the preferable 1.5 degrees, will be nearly impossible at this rate. No, we don't have to "flip a giant switch," as Finley says, nor could we do so if we wanted to. But we will have to reduce overall emissions by 7.6% per year to keep warming to a tolerable level.

This will require leadership and strong action. The individual actions suggested by Finley are fine, but they are not nearly up to the task of realistically solving the climate crisis.

Being alerted to these facts, whether by a U.N. panel of climate scientists or a 16-year-old Swedish girl, is not perpetuating a myth. It is simply highlighting reality.

David Gurk, Ann Arbor

Finley is wrong about Thunberg, climate crisis

Greta Thunberg reacts in a rational way to the endless reports that confirm the long-established scientific facts about climate change that we need to act now to avert global disaster. 

According to economists, the most effective carbon reduction strategy would be to place a price on carbon. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) would do just that. It would price carbon at the point of extraction and return the money raised to families through a monthly dividend. 

This policy will reduce U.S. emissions by at least 40% in the first 12 years, allowing the U.S. to meet its Paris Climate Agreement goals ahead of schedule. It will inject billions into the economy, protect family budgets, free households to make independent choices about their energy usage, spur innovation, and build aggregate demand for low-carbon products at the consumer level, thus creating 2.1 million new jobs.

Kris Olsson, Ann Arbor