Hot air

To the Editor:

It may not be ‘fair’ to comment on Naomi Klein’s book or perhaps her College of the Atlantic presentation not having read/heard it. But I do wish to comment a bit on the extremes expressed by Jack Russell in his “Community Forum” of June 4.

Because his presentation seems so aggressive, I’d like to challenge parts that I believe and have data to show are incorrect.

First, the science is not settled, as there is no hard evidence to show that carbon dioxide is anything more than a nutrient, not a pollutant. We need more CO2, not less. We could easily use up to 1,500 ppm.

I read just yesterday a comment by scientist Dr. Davis Deming: “Whenever someone asserts that a scientific question is “settled,” they tell me immediately that they don’t understand the first thing about science. Science is never settled.”

One of the more useful sources of information on climate change has come out of the Heartland Institute, and there have been accusations that this think tank has been funded by the Koch brothers. But Heartland points out that only once had they accepted a contribution of $25,000 from Koch, and that was in support of a medical research project, nothing to do with climate change. Compare that to the over $35 billion of taxpayer money spent on climate change by our government since 1993.

Russell attributes to Klein: “Burning carbon as its primary energy source at an accelerating rate for the past 240 years, capitalism has created a near-climate-future that will drive mass extinctions, threaten life-prospects of billions and create risks for our own species that cannot be solved by market forces.” That’s a mouthful of untruths.

We can agree that CO2 levels in the atmosphere have been rising. And we can agree that the source of some of this increase has been burning of carbon/fossil fuels. However, we know/have data to show that global atmospheric temperatures have not been rising in response to this for over 18 years (and four months), during which time human-sourced CO2 emissions have increased 25 percent since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution 150 years ago.

Sea-level rise has not accelerated beyond the trend that began at the end of the last ice age.

The total amount of polar ice at the two poles is almost unchanged since satellites first measured it in the 1970s.

A little warming, from whatever source, wouldn’t hurt. A recent study of some 74 million-plus deaths from 1985 to 2012 has shown that deaths from cold were some 20 times more prevalent than from heat.

There is scientific data that points to the sun as the primary driver of the slight warming across the 20th century that some have observed, as per Nir Shaviv, a scientist from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He points out that “[T]here is no fingerprint which proves that the warming is caused primarily by CO2 or other anthropogenic greenhouse gases.”

So, if Russell or Klein have data to the contrary, let us see it. As far as I am aware, all the CO2 global warming charges come from computer models that have never been shown to be correct/match the data.

We need more and low-cost energy worldwide. For now and the foreseeable future, that will come from fossil fuels, oil, coal and natural gas.

Tom Rolfes



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