Common misunderstandings lead to climate change denial
Moved to respond to a letter in the Nov. 22 edition denying human caused climate change.
The author, Michael Walkley, made two statements that illustrate a common misunderstanding and the reason that nearly 40 per cent of Canadians still harbour doubts regarding the cause of climate change.
First, he implies that our politicians, our scientists, NASA etc. are being dishonest. This would imply that the Koch Brothers, the fossil fuel industry barons, the “Homeland Institute”, Fox News, et al are scrupulously honest.
I’m not naïve about our politicians, but as a retired engineer and physician, I’m familiar with scientists and the scientific method of inquiry. Deliberate falsification is the end of a career.
Second, he states that forest fires are the greatest source of climate-change-causing carbon emissions and blames the government for failing to publish this.
The reason is that the carbon released from those forests was captured and fixed FROM the atmosphere largely within the last century. The growth, death, and rotting or burning (both release CO2) of forests is essentially an ongoing process and has no net contribution to CO2 levels unless we fail to replace said forests.
The source of the INCREASE in CO2 is from “fossil” fuels, so-called because the carbon was captured from the atmosphere hundreds of millions of years ago before humans had evolved (and when the earth was very different and a much warmer, stormier, wetter place).
This is leading to conditions leading to a crescendo in droughts, floods, storms, and, sadly, forest fires as the thermal/kinetic energy and moisture levels in the atmosphere increase. (We won’t get into the increasing acidity of the ocean as it buffers the atmospheric CO2…but don’t invest too much in shellfish farms in the long term.)
Sometimes the biggest misunderstanding is the easiest to correct.