Letter to the Editor regarding the “Global Change” article written by Ken White in Jan. 10, 2020 edition.

The article by Ken White in the Jan. 10, 2020 edition presents his opinion about Climate Change, using a humorous style. Several of his comments are incomplete and contain statements inconsistent with scientific facts.

Climate Change is not humorous, but is the most serious issue facing mankind in the 21st century. The World Scientific Community has demonstrated that our climate is changing at an ever-increasing rate, the changes are harmful for all mankind, and they are caused by our increasing dependence on fossil fuels. The US President is known to be a Climate Denier and a corporate fossil fuel supporter. Many politicians are following his lead and enabling him to compromise our air, water and other natural resources. Climate Change is already causing more intense storms, increased drought and rising sea levels leading to agricultural compromise, economic hardship, human migration, wars, loss-of species, etc. The US should be leading the way to solve this problem – but, instead we are helping to worsen it.

Mr. White has mentioned several specific technical issues:

He correctly states that water vapor is a greenhouse gas. But, he fails to point out the relationship between water vapor in the atmosphere and the ability of the atmosphere to soak up more water vapor – a small increase in atmospheric temperature enables the atmosphere to hold a lot more water vapor. So, atmospheric warming due to carbon dioxide and other man-made greenhouse gases enables the atmosphere to hold a larger amount of water vapor, thus enhancing the greenhouse effect and further raising the temperature of the atmosphere. His comments on land subsidence have validity, especially in places like Manhattan Island since it is built on fill. However, today, global sea level and land elevations are determined by space-based instruments, so a local surface reference is no longer required to determine land and sea elevations. Sea level is rising and many coastal parts of the world are at risk. Many studies have been done over the last 60 years to determine whether solar activity affects climate change with the conclusion that it is an inconsequential contributor at best. Furthermore, satellite measurements made from a location above the atmosphere have determined the constancy of solar output during the past 40 years. Similarly, volcanic activity has been shown to contribute very little to climate change compared with human use of fossil fuels.

A consensus of the world’s atmospheric and environmental scientists clearly shows the importance of man-made climate change. Further, this consensus has concluded that these ever increasing changes in climate are directly the result of the worldwide dependence on fossil fuels. The only way to resolve this crisis is to reduce our fossil fuel dependence. The time to accept this reality is now. The problem is us!

Rather than winter coats, we’re far more likely to be wearing bathing suits and using fans to cool our bodies for July 4th fireworks. And, at some point, playing in the snow in January will be a thing of the past.

Bob McClatchey

Bedford, MA


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