The earth is warming

To the Editor:

I agree with Nancy Thorner that, "It's way past time for the Chicago media and media outlets across this nation to stop feeding false propaganda to its readers. . ."

That is why it is very appropriate not to cover the Heartland Institute's climate denier conference. This conference was not about the science of climate change, which is settled. It was intended to obfuscate and confuse the science to delay any legislation which might affect the bottom line of corporations who supply fossil fuels.

The earth is indeed warming. Glaciers are melting. Sea level is rising. The ocean pH is dropping. Weather is less predictable. There are now twice as many high temperature records broken as low temperature records. We just experienced the warmest spring since we started keeping track in 1850.

How unusual are temperatures above 80 degrees in March in Chicago? Man is accountable for most of this warming. CO2 levels have varied between 200ppm during glacial periods to about 270 ppm during interglacials. By burning billions of barrels of oil and mountains of coal we have increased CO2 in our atmosphere to nearly 400 ppm. CO2 has not been this high in at least 800,000 years.

This additional CO2 took eons to sequester and we have released it in just the past 150 years. Adding CO2 has a predictable result - it acts like a blanket and changes the energy balance of the planet. Less heat is radiated to space; the earth warms. This was predicted by John Tyndall in 1859. We are running his experiment on a global scale. We have just one earth.

The time to switch to renewable energy is now - not stick with 20th century energy solutions. In Germany more than half of weekend energy demand is now supplied by solar. Saudi Arabia is going to invest more than $100 billion in solar power. Most of the solar panels are now being built in China (which supports their industries with many incentives) and China's five largest solar panel makers expect an increase in 2012 shipments by 27%-37% over 2011.

Illinois can stick with the past and be left behind because it relies upon fossil fuels, or move forward with new technology which will cost less as companies scale up to keep up with demand and create efficiencies. Accept what 97% of climate scientists tell us - the earth is warming and humans account for much of this change. Work to find solutions and learn to adapt to this change.

David Gross
Tupper Lake, N.Y.

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