I am responding to the letter to the editor published on June 6 titled “Climate change skeptics speak up.” The letter writer claimed to be a “science skeptic” and not a science denier on the subject of climate change. Unfortunately, the claims made in the letter were incorrect and not scientific.
- The claim that there have been “dire predictions” for decades” is accurate. It is also accurate that the climate models have been extremely accurate with these predictions and the most accurate climate models predict greater warming. The claim that scientists predicted a coming ice age in the 1970s is also wrong. A few scientists did predict an ice age, but the vast majority of scientists already accepted that greenhouse gas accumulation due to human activity (scientists know this is due to humans due to the isotopic signature of the carbon) would warm the earth.
- Listen to the scientists, not the politicians. It is the scientists who tell us that we need to act now because of the amplification effects of melting ice caps and snow that release even more stored methane and carbon.
- “Our climate changed before humans”: This classic science denier argument seems to make sense on the s
- urface, but it is completely wrong. While it is true that climate has changed in the past, this change was due to well described natural forcings and CO2. These major natural forcings (TSI (Total Solar Irradiation) and Milankovitch cycles) are actually cooling the earth at this time, but the average earth temperature is increasing at a record rate due to human-caused greenhouse gas accumulation. Sea level is rising faster than predicted and 17 of the 18 warmest years in recorded history have occurred since the year 2000.
- Another false argument is that climate change is good for plants because CO2 is good. In the lab, CO2 can increase crop yields under ideal conditions by 10-15 percent. However, in real life (or ask any farmer) droughts, heat waves and soil conditions limit growth far more than the tiny increases due to CO2, and it has already been documented that crop yields in Australia and other affected areas are decreasing by 20-30 percent due to climate change.
- The cost of climate change is far more than the cost of mitigation. A recent U.S. government report (under Trump) estimates a 10 percent loss of GDP due to climate change by 2100. Increasing flooding, severe storms, droughts and other sever weather is already impacting our country.
Presenting a one-sided argument devoid of scientific facts does not help us to deal with the problems. There are real conversations needed about how much to invest in new technologies to try and mitigate the probably outcomes. The U.S. should be leading the world in encouraging new jobs and innovations and should be in the Paris Accords cooperating with other nations instead of backtracking, ignoring the problem and using false explanations as science denial.