Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wake up to climate change!

From page A6 | June 18, 2014 |

CO2 levels have increased 30 percent and methane levels 150 percent in the past 100 years.

About 20 years ago I saw an episode of “Nova” on TV wherein they spoke about how scientists were predicting a global rise in average temperatures, and how this could affect the ocean currents, and how the repercussions from that could be far-reaching and unpredictable. Nobody took it seriously.

For the past several years we have had freak, extreme weather of increasing intensity and frequency all over the world. We expect the occasional tornado or hurricane, but it seems that more recently these have grown in power and frequency at an ever-increasing rate.

At the same time, it seems that all over the world just about everybody is suffering from either extreme cold or heat, floods or droughts and crop failures and fires and other disasters. Every day it’s news about more floods or freezes or heat waves or tornadoes.

What does it take for us to pay attention? Perhaps when you open the faucet in your home and nothing comes out, you will start thinking about it.

We need to assume that these unprecedented levels are indeed caused by the high levels of greenhouse gases and we need to take drastic steps to stop the increase, and indeed reverse the trend. It can be done if we all pull together! The USA should show the rest of the world how it can be done and inspire them to work with us in defeating this common enemy.

I suggest:
* Massive increase in collection of solar and wind power;

* Increase research into methods of storing energy;

* Weaning cars from gasoline to electricity, hydrogen fuel cells or methanol produced from hemp;

* Working toward a complete moratorium on mining fossil fuels of any description.

This is a “war on climate change.” It is not convenient, but wars never are.

The science fiction scenario that some authors are writing about has become fact and is happening all around us, but we seem to have blinders on! Wake up, people!

Gabriel Lewin

Letters to the Editor


Discussion | 11 comments

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  • AnonJune 18, 2014 - 9:47 am

    Tell this to China and India, who are the major contributors to air pollution. Even if the U.S. ceased all air pollution, it would be a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the world. So what to do? The U.S. needs to push for research into alternative fuels that makes good business sense (not like Solyndra, for example). If we can show the way on how to produce fuel technology that is cleaner and cheaper than oil, we will be ahead of the game in more ways than one.

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  • Rich RifkinJune 18, 2014 - 9:48 am

    Other than some major oil companies and the entire coal industry, there is no one left even trying to make the case that man-caused effluents are not causing global climate change. (There still is rational debate as to how destructive the change will be; or whether climate change to-date is responsible for some or all of the destructive weather we have recently experienced.) You will hear, on right-wing media outlets, various "experts" claiming that the massive increase in CO2 in our atmosphere is harmless or not man-caused or other odd claims refuted by science. But what you will find is that these "experts" are shills for coal and oil. They are parallel to the medical doctors who worked for tobacco companies, putting up smoke screens long after the science on the detrimental effects of tobacco was well known. If anything proves how widespread the consensus on climate change now is, it is that every major insurer and re-insurance company--representing arguably the most free-market and conservative industry on Earth--is basing its policies on global climate change, and (in some cases) requiring policy holders to plan now for future disasters brought on by climate change or have their coverage dropped. Oddly, Fox News and its clones will not discuss climate change with the insurance industry. I guess they are not deemed conservative enough?

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  • Greg JohnsonJune 18, 2014 - 10:33 pm

    Rich, can you please provide names for some of these "shills". I am not a climate alarmist, nor a denier, but I am interested in their view. At the risk of getting tarred and feathered, I admit I do watch Fox News and have never seen one of the scientists (except I believe a founder of Greenpeace) deny climate change. Many of the hosts go there but I don't take their scientific opinions too seriously. Thanks.

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  • Rich RifkinJune 19, 2014 - 9:37 am

    Sure, Greg. I should note that I am not much of a watcher of cable TV news. However, I have read that, where 97.2% of climatologists agree on the basics of global climate change, Fox is in the habit of misinforming its audience by having on mostly anti-science voices discussing climate change. Those are people who always speak out against the basic consensus. Some of them are their hosts or regular contributors, like Charles Krauthammer (who calls global warming theory "a superstition"), Brett Baier (who claims that the 97.2% of climatologists represent "the liberal point of view only"), Brian Kilmeade (who states that only "corrupt" scientists believe in the consensus view) and others. But they also invite on many politicians who are funded by oil and coal companies, including Roy Blunt of Missouri and Joe L. Barton of Texas andNick J. Rahall II of West Virginia. If they have actual scientists on, they will overwhelmingly be those from the anti-consensus viewpoint, such as Roy Spencer, who is a climatologist, but whose own research has been lambasted as poor. ............ Spencer is just as well known for his oddly unscientific view that "intelligent design" has as much basis in fact as what he calls "evolutionism." Never mind that 100% of biological science is based on the laws of evolution. ............. If you are interested, I suggest you Google "Fox Tries To Debunk Global Warming, Fails Miserably."

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  • markJune 18, 2014 - 1:51 pm

    Why don’t we leave “climate change” science to scientists who are experts in the field and not just anyone who wants to write a blog about it with a minimal science background, if any. I am so tired hearing “global warming” spout from the mouths of politicians, self proclaimed environmentalists, and the media every time the temperature gets hot or cold, or there’s some sort of seasonal storm occurring somewhere. The overhype of global warming just diminishes the creditable science by climatologists and other educated experts.

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  • s.f.June 18, 2014 - 2:26 pm

    Mark: I personally find the comments of fellow Davisites to be informative. In case you haven't picked up on it yet, many of our readers and commenters are pretty informed. I especially appreciate R.Rifkin's comments as he gives information and references. So...keep up the good work, citizens of Davis. We all need to work at making a difference in climate change in whatever way, big or small, that we can.

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  • Curt MillerJune 18, 2014 - 10:11 pm

    More useless whoop-whoop. First, the global temperature rise referred to didn't happen. There has been no significant warming the past 15 years. Second, freak weather is a common fact of, well, weather. For every so-called 'extreme' event that jars the moribund types in this town, one can look in the weather record and find similar occurrences in the past. third, there is no evidence that tornadic/hurricane activity has grown in power and frequency at ever increasing rates. Why do people make this crap up? Fourth, there is no evidence that out of the ordinary weather events are caused by CO2 increases in the atmosphere. Why do people make this crap up? Fifth, solar and wind will NEVER, NEVER provide enough energy to make a bit of difference as far as ever replacing fossil fuels for energy needs. This writer is delusional to say so. Finally, the climate has been changing over the course of earth's history for all kinds of reasons. Until scientists can separate ALL of the factors that influence climate, adopting unproven, economically debilitating, or just plain stupid nostrums is a losing game. Writers like this guy are welcome to peddle their nonsense to Africans, Chinese, or Indian people and explain how making them even poorer is a deal maker. Good luck with that...

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  • Rich RifkinJune 19, 2014 - 9:39 am

    "There has been no significant warming the past 15 years." ............ Curt, this is false. I'm nonetheless interested to know why you think that. Is there some source for your claim? I know a lot of climate change deniers make this sort of statement. But do you have an authoritative source other than those whose predisposition is to deny climate change science?

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  • Curt MillerJune 19, 2014 - 10:03 pm

    Rich; Please read up on the IPCC info I've sent you by email... "This is false..." No, it's not...

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  • Rich RifkinJune 20, 2014 - 9:09 am

    Curt, I guess the key word is "significant." So far, the hottest year on record was 2010. That was not 15 or 20 years ago. It was just 4 years ago. If you look at the 10 hottest years on record, all of them but one was in the last 13 years. In order they are 2010, 2005, 1998, 2013, 2003, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2007, 2004 (tie) and 2012 (tie). ........... If you Google, "NOAA: 2013 Was Tied For The Fourth-Hottest Year On Record," you will see a graph which shows the continual increase in global temperatures. It does not show any sort of stop in the increase in Earth's temperatures. ............... What I think all of those stories you emailed me show is that the IPCC model produced in 2000 overestimated the temperature increase. The data do not show, however, that the Earth has not continued to get hotter. What has happened is that atmospheric CO2 has continued to mount. The earlier models apparently did not sufficiently account for the dissolution of CO2 into our oceans. As a result, temperatures, while rising, have not increased as much as had been predicted. In the meantime, our oceans have become far more acidic than had been predicted. There is no reason to be sanguine about this development. As UC Davis scientists (marine biologists) have shown, greater oceanic acidity is a great threat to the chain of life in our oceans, and puts at risk the entire shellfish industry and likely over time other important fisheries which feed a substantial portion of the planet.

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  • Greg JohnsonJune 19, 2014 - 11:14 am

    I have never heard of Spencer but I'll google him. I have heard many of the hosts talk dismissively about climate change but, as I said, I don't take their science opinions seriously. It is very unfortunate that this is such a political topic. To me, it just makes sense that a population of 7 billion and growing and industrialization is going to damage the environment. However, the issue is not just political on the right. Thanks for the response!

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