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A quick trip to the National Museum of Natural History or even a trip to Calvert Cliffs would inform the most casual observer that climate change is a natural phenomenon. So the fact that the Earthís temperature rises and falls over the ages is hardly a surprise. Iím sure another ice age is in our future, however, Iím not going to worry about it or rising oceans based on someoneís computer model. When weathermen start predicting next weekís weather report with 100 percent accuracy, I might be concerned.

So to claim with absolute certainty that the rise in earth temperature is due to manís use of carbon-based fuels is truly a leap of faith not based on proven facts. Why? Consider the following facts:

The Earthís dry atmosphere is composed of mostly nitrogen at 78 percent and oxygen at 21 percent. The remaining 1 percent is composed of 14 other gases, of which three contain carbon. Based on the latest data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as of March of this year, the contribution of carbon dioxide is 0.03944 percent. The contribution of methane is 0.000179 percent and carbon monoxide is 0.00001 percent.

To put this in perspective, letís say you own a silo 100 feet tall. Hereís how your silo would be filled:

Nitrogen, 78 feet; oxygen, 21 feet; argon, 11 inches; carbon dioxide, 0.4733 inches; methane, 0.0002 inches; carbon monoxide, 0.0001 inches.

The average contribution of water vapor throughout the atmosphere is approximately 0.4 percent or an additional 4.8 inches added to the top of our 100-foot silo. Therefore, water vapor, not carbon dioxide, is the most significant greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. In fact, in terms of greenhouse effect, water vapor is 10 times more significant than carbon dioxide.

Should we pass a law that no one should be allowed to sweat? Or should we just pass a sweat tax on every human being and animal in the country and have it regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? What do you think?

Phil Zalesak, Tall Timbers