Climate change: in response to previous “letter to editor”

Misinformation and pseudoscience is proliferate, and this is especially true of climate change. It is for this reason that I am writing in response to a letter recently submitted to this publication. It is easy to discount climate change and say I “don’t believe in global warming.” To be honest, neither do I – I don’t believe in climate change; I understand climate change. It’s not a matter of faith, it’s a matter of facts. Allow me to elaborate: Technology has changed dramatically since the 1970’s when Amazon, and the iPhone, were barely a twinkle in a tech mogul’s eye. Current climate data is retrieved through remote satellite detection and intricate ocean monitoring devices, as well as through a sophisticated network of global climate observatories. The data retrieved from these instruments is reliable and consistent.

A common misconception is the conflation of weather and climate. Weather consists of temporary, localized atmospheric conditions on a day to day basis; while climate is the overall trend in temperature and rainfall averages over many years. Hence, a week of snowfall is not indicative of a cooling climate, nor is it evidence contrary to a warming climate. Isolated incidences are not what climate scientists are using to develop their predictions – they are utilizing data trends over longer periods of time. Evidence of climate change for example, would be the fact that Lincoln County’s average annual temperature has increased by 2 degrees Fahrenheit since data collection began in 1895; a significant increase. A particularly heavy snowfall or an exceptionally cold temperature is just one data point in an overall trend of decreasing precipitation and increasing temperature.

It is true that the earth has undergone climate changes at regular intervals throughout its history. Change itself is not unprecedented, nor necessarily alarming. The concern is the rate at which these changes are occurring. The global increase in temperature over the last 30 years is equivalent to the increase in temperature over the preceding 1000 years. In other words, it has taken just 30 years to increase the temperature to a level which took 1000 years for the earth to reach naturally.

No significant correlation has been established between sunspot activity and global climate change, while a definite causality for CO2 emissions has been confirmed by a cohort of international scientists representing 195 nations. Anthropogenic, or human caused CO2 emissions are easily differentiated from natural CO2 by analyzing isotopes through mass spectrometry. Anthropogenic CO2 has an atomic signature which reveals its identity. These signatures are so specific that CO2 emissions can even be traced to the nation of origin.

Evidence for the acceleration of climate change by human activity is definitive and unprecedented. To dismiss this reality and to ignore the impending consequences is dangerous and self-defeating. For scientists, there is simply no debate about the reality and threat of anthropogenic climate change; the data is conclusive.

Submitted by, Laurren C.N. Anderson