Gleason’s reality is a fantasy
To the Editor:
In his editorial, Patrick Gleason claimed that Dr. Curry’s editorial on climate change was not based on reality and that climate change was not that serious. In reality, it is Gleason who is divorced from reality.
Citing a book by a bureaucrat and providing no scientific evidence, Gleason makes the following claims:
• The warmest temperatures in the U.S. have not risen in 50 years.
• Economic impact of climate change is negligible.
• Wind farms take 700 times more land than natural gas wells.
• Climate-related deaths have plummeted over the past century.
• During the past 100 years, CO2 in the atmosphere as risen from 305 to 400 parts per million.
Let’s look at the facts:
1. The warmest temperature claim is a sophistry. The highest daily temperature recorded was in Death Valley in 1913; however, the average temperature has been increasing in recent years. The two hottest years in the history of the U.S. were 2012 and 2016, and the 10 hottest years on record have occurred in the past few decades. The “hottest temperature” is a lesson in how to lie with statistics.
2. Negligible economic impact of climate change. Experts have published reports stating that damage estimates for climate change going forward range from 2% to 10% or more of global GDP per year. This does not sound “negligible” to me.
3. Wind farms taking so much land. I have personally stood among the windmills on a windfarm in Illinois. The turbines are located on farmland where farmers can cultivate all the land except for the roughly 15-foot diameter circle that the base of the turbines take up. Pumps in an oil field take up more space than that.
4. Climate-related deaths have plummeted. According to Bloomberg, climate accounts for about 10% of deaths worldwide due to extreme temperatures. Just this week editors of 200 medical journals have stated that climate change poses the greatest threat to global health.
5. CO2 has increased from 305 to 400 ppm. Scientists have determined that preindustrial levels of CO2 were around 260 to 270 ppm. As of 2021, CO2 levels are at 417 ppm. Besides CO2 there are other greenhouse gasses, such as methane, that are more decremental in terms of heating the planet. These are also increasing drastically.
It seems Mr. Gleason is the one out of touch with reality. If this “scholarship” is typical for those at Americans for Tax Reform and the Beacon Center of Tennessee, one has to question their other pronouncements.