Dead horses

To the Editor:

Regarding Tom Rolfes’ March 19 climate change letter, I want to correct one attribution error, and while I’m at it, comment on one of his recurring points; no horse is so dead that you can’t beat it some more!

I can’t take credit for those comments about Ms. Figueres because I didn’t write any; Zack Klyver did in his excellent letter. But I agree with them. Her statements are not about destroying capitalism; that leap is made by those who see U.N. world domination behind every rock. She is simply talking about evolving the technologies of energy generation to ones less environmentally harmful.

Capitalism existed before fossil fuels, and it will exist after they are gone. Those clinging to the past may not like technological change, but capitalism and science don’t care.

I agree with Tom that the sun is essential to our climate. Without it, our climate would be cold indeed. And dark. But are recent climate changes due to changes in solar output?

Science says no. Total Solar Irradiance has declined slightly over the past 30 years, which should mean cooling. But instead, Earth has gotten warmer. A 2005 paper by Hansen et al in “Science” is representative of many that show warming is mainly due to greenhouse gasses, with the sun having a minor effect.

I did find a webpage claiming to have the 200 peer-reviewed papers Tom references, and I looked at them all. Of the few that are relevant to recent climate changes, one supported Tom’s position, two said warming was due to Saturn and Jupiter, four said the sun was not the cause, and a dozen agreed greenhouse gasses are driving warming. A few of those suggested that reduced solar irradiance might account for the recent slowdown in the warming trend. Again, it’s CO2, not the sun.

It’s tempting to continue to point out where opposing positions diverge from mainstream science; I’ve learned a lot in the process. But I think this dead horse has suffered enough. The question isn’t if Earth can tolerate lots of CO2; it is if humans can.

I look forward to future letters focused on solutions.

John Fehlauer

Mount Desert

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