Address global warming for the long-term

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: January 15 2014 | 12:52 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 2:09 am in
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Disputing the causes of climate change, a letter writer states that “The climate has been changing since Earth was formed” but the “residents of the planet” are not responsible (“Climate change a natural process,” Jan. 5, by Dale Richey).

This claim ignores the fact our climate is changing with unprecedented speed as we pour gigantic amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The level of CO2 is now the highest it has been in more than 2 million years. He also says recent volcanoes have put huge amounts of CO2 in the air, implying these are the cause of the dramatic CO2 increase. But volcanoes have been erupting around the world for millennia.

It is CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels that has, in the last 170 years, raised the CO2 content in the atmosphere an astounding 40 percent.

In effect, we’re performing a massive science experiment with our atmosphere. That experiment, with the surge in CO2, is causing worldwide temperature increases, species extinctions, rising sea levels, loss of Arctic sea ice, the melting of glaciers and the warming and acidification of the oceans.

Becoming more energy efficient and switching from the burning of fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, will help address the long-term consequences of global warming.

Frank Olsen

Cedar Rapids

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