First, congratulations to Michael Beneke (The Daily News letters to the editor, Nov. 16) for challenging the veracity of the letter headlined "Extreme Concern" that was published Nov. 15. The letter was an example of conspiracy theory on stilts.

Second, let me relate my personal experience with the first Earth Day (April 22, 1970). At the time, I was a member of the economics faculty at the University of Colorado. I appeared on a faculty panel at the university's Denver campus. We discussed the economic analysis related to pollution abatement and issues surrounding economic sustainability.

I don't think any of us were aware of the date's ideological significance.

We were aware of the influence of Senator Gaylord Perry of Wisconsin in the inception of Earth Day. To the best of my knowledge, no one was accusing him of being a Leninist. I am sure the date had more to do with the practicalities of getting student participation. Nor am I aware of any nefarious group from Stanford. We were legitimately concerned about the state of the planet.

At the time, most economists were not sympathetic to doomsday scenarios related to resource scarcity. I shared in that cynicism. Global warming is a different problem. We have too much cheap carbon fuel and the evidence related to fossil fuel consumption and climate change, is in my view, conclusive.

P.S. April 22 also is the birthday of Charlie Mingus and Immanuel Kant.

Ed Phillips


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