The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 22, 2014

On climate change, follow the science

Within the past year The Free Press has published several My Views on climate change containing statements that are scientifically inaccurate in our view.

This is unfortunate for readers who are interested in finding the truth on this most pressing issue. This is especially made significant by the just-released report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a body that puts together, evaluates and represents the peer-reviewed climate change research performed by climate scientists across the planet.

In short, that report reiterates even more strongly than previous reports the consensus of climate scientists that:

n The earth’s climate is changing in ways that cannot be explained by natural fluctuations alone.

n Overall the planet is warming.

n The oceans are warming and becoming more acidic.

n Severe weather events are becoming more frequent.

The reason for these aberrations, according to the climate scientists, can only be attributed to humankind’s impact on the atmosphere through the transfer primarily of carbon but also compounds like methane and nitrous oxide from the earth to the atmosphere.

Human effect on the environment is not new. Civilizations have risen and fallen due to human intervention in natural processes. Local weather (even climate) has been affected by humans draining bodies of water (like the Aral Sea in Russia) and the burning of prairies (as in the western U.S.).

But only since the onset of the industrial revolution, which has brought about the wholesale transfer of carbon from natural resources like coal and oil to the atmosphere, have we seen mankind’s effect on worldwide climate.

This research has been verified and acknowledged by such U.S. agencies as the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.

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