While I could have done without the political pot shots in “Food for thought on the climate crisis,” (published June 8) I found the letter amusing. You “might” get 97 of 100 medical doctors to agree a person is dead. Although, I recently read some articles about people declared dead and about to be buried or cremated that suddenly “awoke”, but I doubt you would get that high a consensus on a medical diagnosis and if you are talking about PHD (doctors), then you’d be lucky to get 70 percent agreement.
Global warming and cooling have been occurring since the rock was created. The permafrost has melted before, glaciers have come and gone, water levels have risen and fallen. Solar radiation, the Earth’s tilt and orbital shift, cloudiness, precipitation, volcanic activity and solar adsorption have all been identified as significant factors in temperature change (a.k.a the climate crisis). Past temperature variations of 15 degrees above or below the average have been documented, while we develop angst over a 1 degree in 10 year change. One of few constants reported is that CO2 levels appear to have increased and decreased with the temperature fluctuations. The current air temperatures are neither extreme nor as significant as the rate of increase. 15,000 years ago the Earth was pretty much covered with ice and someday will probably be again. Another meteor impact on the scale of Chicxulub or volcanic eruption like Kalkarindji or Toba Caldera and the ice age may quickly return. Changes of the earth’s surface temperature and water levels (availability) have forever been responsible for plant, animal and human migration and evolution.
Unfortunately, we seem to let “feel good” politics replace sound technical solutions. In our mad rush to all things electric, after shutting down most mines in the U.S., we appear ready to send billions of dollars, and jobs, to countries with far worse pollution and emission records than ours in order to obtain the battery raw materials. The amount of pollution and emissions created by producing batteries are predicted to far exceed the CO2 savings electric vehicles provide. While Canada and Scandinavia, long touted as environmental leaders, are building new nuclear facilities we won’t even consider them. Are these well-thought out policies or programs?
There are about eight billion people exhaling CO2. If we could level cities and metro areas with populations over one million people and plant trees, or they all decide to take Elon up on colonizing Mars, then the CO2 levels would drop significantly. Barring those unlikely events we can and should adopt reasonable and thoughtfully researched technology and programs to minimize the CO2 and methane rate increases while not destroying economies and lives in the process.
I don’t have “the crisis” answers and neither, apparently, does Mr. Benson. Some people and organizations (like the news media) can’t function without a “crisis” or bad news.
There are a number of relevant government, non-government, and academic studies you can read on the matter to form your own ideas.