Like Leigh Pomeroy (Act now on Earth Day, April 27) I try to do what I can as an individual to protect the environment, and encourage others to do likewise. But I do not subscribe to the alarmist idea that man made climate change (f/k/a anthropogenic global warming) is anywhere near crisis stage, and that government needs to act now — with expensive schemes like cap and trade or a carbon tax.
Studies show the impact of such pending legislation/regulations would moderate warming by at most 0.11 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. But economists predict it could result in an average family income loss of about $1,000 per year, and 400,000 jobs lost as soon as 2016. When there is irrefutable evidence that the benefits of government intervention outweigh the costs, then and only then should the government act.
The European Unions climate change policy is on the brink of collapse. See "EU climate change policy in crisis after MEPs vote against high CO2 Prices" (The Daily Telegraph, April 16, 2013). Princeton physicist Will Harper's article "Indifference of Carbon Dioxide" (Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2013) states carbon dioxide is a boon to plant life and has little correlation with global temperature.
Well intentioned but maybe over zealous save-the-fragile planet individuals should recognize that scientists are not "universally in agreement...". See "Peer Reviewed Survey Finds Majority Of Scientists Skeptical Of Global Warming Crisis" (Forbes, February 13, 2013), and "Global Warming: Was It Just A Beautiful Dream After All" (Forbes, April 13, 2013). Also see: "Climate changing for global warming journalists" (Financial Post, April 15, 2013), and "Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown" (Reuters, April 16, 2013).
Subsequent to Mr. Pomeroy's article I read with interest Free Press reporter Robb Murray's May 15 article summarizing meteorologist Paul Douglas climate change presentation at the ninth annual Senior Expo in Mankato.
Too many issues to address here, but I will select a few for comment. Douglas apparently claimed weather is hitting extremes in a way it never before had, and natural weather disasters have increased by a multiple of three or four times over the past few decades. For other opinions see "Tornado activity hits 60 year low" (USA Today, May 9, 2013) and "U.S. Hurricane Frequency Down 40 percent Since the 19th Century" (Real Science, May 12, 2013).
With all due respect, Mr.. Douglas's contention that 97 percenet of the peer reviewed and published climate change research suggest humans are contributing to the warming of the planet is, I think, outdated or misleading. The most recent extensive study I am aware of is by John Cook, published in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters (May 16, 2013). Cook is a proponent of anthropogenic global warming. The Cook study is based on articles published and peer reviewed between 1991 and 2011. A careful reading of his study indicates that two-thirds of the scientists questioned (8,000) take no position on the cause of global warming.
Although 32.6 percent of the abstracts endorsed AGW, the authors were not questioned whether it was a primary or significant cause. Common sense dictates that human activity contributes to global temperatures. But whether it is a primary or significant cause remains unsettled, in my opinion. Climate change is continuous and cyclical over decades and centuries.
Rather than premature, overreaching, politically motivated government intervention I think it is important we continue to study the unsettled science and see where it leads us. According to NASA (May 15, 2013) our sun has unleashed four pertinent solar flares over the past few days, common at this time in its 11-year activity cycle.
At the risk of sounding simplistic, just suppose the primary cause of climate change is so obvious as our sun and solar activity. Since astronomers tell us our sun is about half burned-out, that is something to start worrying about — in a few billion years.
Bob Jentges is a former teacher, coach and insurance claims superintendent and is part a team of Free Press readers invited to comment more frequently on issues of the day. He lives in North Mankato and considers himself a conservative.