Letter to the Editor: Dissenting opinion

2 mins read

Investigate any topic and you can find dissenting opinion. You’ll find that’s true of climate science too. The scientists investigating that topic have disagreed at times over the reliability of things like the climate markers used to estimate pre industrial atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. They use data that is reliable and relevant to advance understanding. That’s their primary concern.

The primary concern of those moved to protest the importation of hydro power from Quebec is the outcome of that effort. Their primary concern is not the advancement of understanding. While science hesitates to apply the results of research conducted on newly constructed hydro facilities in tropical settings to existing hydro facilities in our temperate setting, those engaged in the protest do not.

Here there’s an unfounded belief that, if allowed to fall into disuse, methane levels around the facility in question will be substantially reduced. The research cited doesn’t even support this notion because it suggests that by the time a hydro facility is as old as the one in question here methane emissions have substantially declined. In other words, the time to consider methane emissions is before construction, not decades later.

There’s been plenty of opportunity to investigate methane releases from newly formed bodies of water here. (Beavers and natural processes create them as well as humans.) Those studies have shown that these bodies of water release as much methane as long standing bodies of water do after a decade or so has passed. This is because the vegetation responsible has decade by then.

I think that’s been the biggest misconception here so I’ll leave it at that. We aren’t going to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by targeting existing hydro facilities here for decommissioning.

Jamie Beaulieu
Farmington, Maine

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