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Harmful effects of CO2 emissions, fracking can’t be denied

Under “It’s a Stretch” of the Albuquerque Journal, April 9 issue, Jim Willems uses diversion tactics to denigrate validated scientific research about climate change and the observed average temperature trends across the earth. The burning of fossil fuels releases CO2, resulting in the increase of temperature across the earth due to the greenhouse effect.

Willems drags out the misguided publication by Paul Ehrlich in 1968 of a book called “The Population Bomb.” This book was based on Ehrlich’s assertion that population was out of control and would soon result in millions starving to death. That conjecture was found to be lacking and was not accepted by most scientists. In fact, Willems misses the other big reason for not using fossil fuels. That is the widely known dangers of hydraulic fracturing.

But Willems has an agenda, where he falsely accuses the governor of making an untrue statement that we would have 100 percent renewable energy in 12 years and then accuses her of being unfit to lead. But the governor did not make such a statement. Instead, her platform clearly called for 50 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and 80 percent by 2040, which she just delivered on. Unfortunately for Willems, he only destroys his own credibility.

The real reason that Willems is writing this op-ed is that he wants to protect the fossil fuel industry even though it is now a known threat to clean air and clean water and to human health and safety, according to Neela Baneriee, Inside Climate News, “How the U.S. Government Hid Risks to Drinking Water.” This threat, as related to the hydraulic fracturing controversy, is now widely known and well-documented.

So what, in fact, is Willems trying to do? He tries to turn the facts on their head to convince us we are doomed without the continued use of fossil fuels. But this is plainly not the case.

When utilities solicit proposals for energy sources, the cheapest energy in many states, including New Mexico, is solar and wind. And solar and wind don’t contribute to climate change because they don’t produce emissions. And they don’t use water.

Also fracking does produce large amounts of wastewater, does use enormous amounts of fresh water and can and does cause contamination of underground water and does have spills of chemical-laden wastewater. The facts are that hydrogen sulfide escapes from the wellhead. And the CO2 that comes from burning the coal and gas contributes to climate change.

Willems, a Farmington resident, claims that we live in the “cleanest and safest environments in the entire history of human kind.” Does he know the world’s largest methane cloud hangs over Farmington and the Four Corners area?

Let’s ask mothers of children who get asthma because they live too close to fracking wells. A number of studies have found that the closer someone lives to unconventional oil and gas facilities, the more likely they are to experience a range of health issues including low birth weights, childhood cancers, asthma exacerbations, migraines, fatigue and even depression.