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The Charles County commissioners held a public meeting Jan. 8 to discuss the tier map provided by the Balanced Growth Initiative.

Science and current events were somewhat lacking in the conversation over the BGI tier map.

We no longer live in a world with a steady state atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 275 ppm. Our current carbon dioxide levels are just under 400ppm, and the rate of increase is on the rise. The results of the increase in carbon dioxide are evident in trends in temperature and weather.

The 10 warmest years in of the continental United States have occurred in the last 15 years. The warmest year ever was 2012. Arctic ice currently covers half of the surface that it covered in the 1980-1990s. This summer, the arctic ice was down to a quarter of its normal end-of-summer depth.

Extreme weather events associated with the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide are becoming the norm. Concurrent with the increase in carbon dioxide is a decrease in atmospheric oxygen. One might assume the decrease in atmospheric oxygen to equal the increase in carbon dioxide.

Unfortunately, the oxygen is decreasing at a rate of about twice the increase of carbon dioxide. This data indicate that not all photosynthetic activity is the same.

The cellular material generated by mature trees is more reduced or has less oxygen than that generated by seasonal or less mature crops. Otherwise stated, the more mature trees are more efficient at photosynthetic oxygen production.

Faced with this fact, to cut down old mature trees is not the wise choice of action.

Lung disease is on the increase and is projected to be the third leading cause of death by 2020.

This should be no surprise because those same mature trees that remove carbon dioxide and produce oxygen also act like big air filters, removing all manner of air pollution.

Many scientists believe that there is a tipping point beyond which we will have set in motion events that will self-perpetuate increased carbon dioxide.

In light of current scientific data, our conversation about the BGI tier map really reminds me of the childhood story, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” There needs to be a will to face the fact that our world has changed and the survival of our grandchildren depends on our ability to adjust our minds to the reality of our current situation.

Laura Tinsley, Port Tobacco