Jan 20, 2024

You can see impact of climate change in the air around us (Your Letters)

A thick haze lingers over Central New York Wednesday, June 7, 2023, as smoke from the Canada wildfires continues to travel south. Traffic moves along I-690 in Syracuse amid the smoke, which smelled of heavy campfire. Lauren Long | [email protected]

To the Editor:

As I look out the window of my home and see the haze and smell the smoke from fires burning in Canada, it is clear that Central New York is not immune to the impact of climate change.

Years of higher temperatures in the North Country have dried out the Canadian boreal forest. The "chickens are coming home to roost" as the number of fires and amount of land burned measures in thousands of square miles and increases from year to year.

The science is simple. Increase the CO2 concentration from manmade burning of fossil fuels, and the planet warms. Call it climate change, global warming or anything you want. This science is indisputable. If you don't believe in science, that is another matter.

The good news is that the technology to slow down and over time reverse the impact of climate change is available now. We have the "cure." Renewable energy sources such as solar work fine in Central New York and are one of the lowest-cost producers of energy. Cold climate electric heat pump technology that can heat and cool our homes in CNY, and even farther north, have been available for years and continue to improve.

It is really a question of political will. Will we be shortsighted and unwilling to spend a few dollars more on the front end in new construction? Will we be unwilling to learn about new technologies and continue to install gas furnaces because that is what we are used to? Will we be unwilling to see solar farms and say "not in my backyard"?

With Micron coming to town, Onondaga County will be experiencing tremendous growth in the next 20 years. And while they should be praised for their commitment to 100% renewable energy for their electrical usage, this cutting-edge, technology company is planning to use 100-year-old fossil fuel, greenhouse gas-emitting technology to heat what will eventually be a 2.2 million-square-foot building.

At the same time, the 100-year-old Whitlock Building on Salina Street was redeveloped with electric heat pumps for heating and cooling and uses zero fossil fuels.

How ironic!

If we are to slow down and eventually reverse climate change, we need to embrace non-fossil fuel energy for all new construction. Either that, or get used to hazy, smoke filled skies with air quality that will shorten our lives.

Peter Wirth


Related: Smoke from Canada wildfires in Central NY should be better on Thursday, but not gone

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