- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
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In response to the Nov. 23 letter “Which one of you is attacking science?”
No proof human activity is causing global warming? Wrong!
First, let me applaud The Enterprise editorial of Nov. 16 “Don’t attack science when conclusion are unpleasant.” We need more truth and common sense, not less. The Enterprise analogy about engine lights made perfect sense to me. The engine lights in our automobiles are there to warn of problems with our cars, and although these lights are connected to sensors in our exhaust systems, they in fact can indicate a serious problem with the engine. We ignore those lights at the risk of serious damage to our vehicles as well as increased emissions.
But the larger issue alluded to by The Enterprise is the massive fossil fuel industry-funded attacks on the facts about climate change. The reason that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that human activities are causing dangerous climate change which has led to global warming, sea level rise, massive storms, floods, droughts, ocean acidification and premature death, is that they are convinced that the data overwhelming proves it.
These are the facts: Dangerous climate change is being caused by the burning of fossil fuels, and the only solution to this problem is to completely stop burning coal, oil and natural gas as soon as we can. This is the reason that our country is building thousands of wind turbines, solar arrays and plug-in cars, while we decommission coal-fired power plants.
Consider that we will soon reach 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere worldwide, probably by 2014. It was about 310 ppm when I was born, a safe level which we likely won’t enjoy again for centuries. Our top climate scientists believe that a safe upper limit is 350 ppm. Sea ice in the Arctic will soon reach zero during the summers, likely within one or two decades. Sea level rise will impact the mid-Atlantic more than the overall worldwide levels, adding perhaps 6 additional feet of water around our county by the end of this century. And the most distressing thing to me is the expected increase in temperature worldwide of several degrees Celsius.
Fortunately, we can slow climate change significantly if we switch to clean energy. Side benefits include significant reduction in lung disease, reduction in imported fuels, stabilization of electricity prices and more American jobs. An offshore wind industry is coming to the United States very soon, which will develop clean energy to take the place of the coal plants currently being retired.
If Marylanders want jobs in this industry we need to get moving in our state. Otherwise those jobs will go to New Jersey, Massachusetts or Virginia. Notice that Republican governors including Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bob McDonnell of Virginia are also pushing offshore wind development. We need to get moving on our governor’s offshore wind plan, and the Maryland Senate should pass the offshore wind bill in the next session. I would encourage Marylanders to contact their state senator and support this sensible initiative.
For those who want to do something closer to home, consider the many ways available to reduce your use of electricity. Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative can help you through the EmPOWER Maryland program to upgrade your heating and cooling systems, water heaters, appliances and lights with much better Energy Star energy-saving technology. This program offers rebates up to $2,750 to individual homeowners. You will be pleased when you see your electric bills fall dramatically, and you will be helping to protect the environment. Another option is to buy wind power for your home. It is painless, costs just a bit more and helps to build and maintain the wind farms in this country.
Lastly, thanks to The Enterprise for telling it like it is.
Larry Tierney, California