Horse and buggy days

To the Editor:

John Fehlauer’s recent challenge of my response to an earlier letter in the Islander claims climate is “changing today due to human activity, especially increased CO2 produced by burning fossil fuels.” The important thing here is not that climate change is in question, it has always been changing. Nor do I, being skeptical, claim that CO2 is not impacting climate change. The issue is how much CO2 is affecting climate.

We can agree that CO2 levels are increasing, and if parts per million are important, then we can agree that it’s a fair amount, as we are near or at 400 ppm (0.04 percent of the gases in our atmosphere). But, in the period between 1800 and 1955, there were many periods when mean values of atmospheric CO2 taken across Europe, North America and Peru were much higher, up to 500 ppm and above. The average is 335 ppm, only 65 ppm below the current level of 400.

Because climate is and always has been “changing,” there always have been examples of “record high temperatures, rising sea levels, Arctic sea ice melting,” etc., as listed by Fehlauer, but there has been no increase in these events in recent history. Tornadoes are less frequent (except when they happen to cross your yard!), no category 3-5 hurricanes have struck the U.S. since October 2005, setting a record lull since 1900, sea level rising beyond the 7 inches per century, ocean acidification, etc.

This is fear mongering.

U.S. surface records obtained from the most reliable thermometer stations – those not corrupted by local “heat island” influences such as instrument relocations, urban developments or man-made changes – show no significant warming over the last 80 years. There have been more all-time U.S. cold records than heat records since the 1940s, according to Larry Bell,

As far as “getting your science from reputable sources, such as NASA, NOAA, and the U.N.’s IPCC,” again, I say be careful there. Remember that the mission of the IPCC was to estimate human influences on surface temperatures, not natural variation, etc. It is a very political body.

As example, in a 2007 journal “Nature” article by Keven Trenberth, a lead author of 2001 and 2007 IPCC reports: “None of the [global climate simulation] models used by the IPCC are initialized to the observed state, and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed state.”

So, there is no reason to phase out the use of fossil fuels, and certainly not on MDI, unless we are going back to horse and buggy days.

Tom Rolfes


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