Believe the facts about climate change: Vernon reader

Skip the political banter and focus on what science has to say

Dear Editors,

It is interesting to see how an argument about climate beliefs depends on incorrect scientific facts and then veers off into a political argument about manipulations by the wealthy elite (“Climate Change Questioned”, Vernon Morning Star, Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019.)

It was argued that 3 million years ago the atmospheric CO2 concentration was 7000 parts per million (ppm). That is simply incorrect. The geological record shows that 3 million years ago the CO2 ppm were about 10 to 15 per cent higher than they are now, still within the 400 range. At that time the earth was five-to-eight degrees Celsius warmer on average than it is now, with ferns and tropical plants growing in the Arctic and sea levels up to 15 metres higher than at present.

If it had been 7,000 ppm those short three million years ago, homo sapiens would not exist. CO2 is not a poison but it is an asphyxiant — our primate ancestors would have suffocated to death. The astronauts on Apollo 13 did not lack oxygen, they suffered from too much CO2 buildup.

As for the writer’s question about how to explain the drop in atmospheric CO2 the answer is readily found in books and online. The answer in its simplest form is due to weathering of rocks and other chemical processes — in effect, mother nature sequesters CO2 all on her own and has been doing so for billions of years.

The writer then wonders why people are not building dykes to stop sea level rise. Perhaps he should visit Miami where they have raised some streets 50 centimetres in order to accommodate rising sea levels, at least for the short term. The island country of Tuvalu has started a Climate Adaptation Program to protect its shores — again, a short term protection in respect to such a large sea level increase. The Netherlands has been fighting sea levels for centuries, but unless they can build a 15-metre weatherproof wall around the whole country, it will be a losing fight.

Rather than believe in some arguments by politicians or armchair pundits, it is better to understand what science has to say about the current climate in relation to historical scientific geophysical research.

— Jim Miles, Vernon

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