Letter: Columnist should embrace science, not sensation

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John Balentine’s zeal for mischaracterizing and condescending opinion applauds picking up litter thrown from speeding cars as a proper expression of Earth Day. He implies efforts to protect the planet from catastrophic climate change caused by fossil fuel emissions is an alarmist hoax created by “Big Environment” to fund its cause.

He neglected to mention this year’s Earth Day featured millions marching for science; he did not mention the overwhelming consensus of atmospheric scientists that greenhouse gases threaten the biosphere. Instead he takes comfort in local seasonal observations. Perhaps he should take some time to read some of the voluminous peer-reviewed scientific analysis of what is occurring on a steadily warming planet and the threat posed to billions of people and all life forms sharing the Earth.

He might read exactly how bitumen “tar sands” oil is extracted and processed and why it is an environmental threat. If he reads about the long record of oil spills in pipelines and the risk of trying to reverse flow bitumen oil in the old pipeline to South Portland, he might understand how the loss of oil company tax dollars might be small compared to potential economic environmental disaster. Perhaps an hour spent reading about the current environmental condition of the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster of 2010. The short-sighted and unscientific opinion Balentine offers is exactly the self-satisfied view that a scientific world needs to overcome.

Robert Libby
Chebeague Island