Letter: Our leaders don’t understand climate change

(Martin Meissner | The Associated Press) The Nov. 19, 2014 file photo shows two furnaces at the ThyssenKrupp steel plant in Duisburg. A new facility scheduled to open in April 2018 will cut down 10 million tons of CO2 emissions a year.

On a recent visit to Salt Lake, I read: “Government climate report warns of worsening US disasters,” (Nov. 24) with interest.

How tragic it is that, on the one hand, a vast majority of climate and other scientists are deeply concerned about and explaining the increasingly extreme weather we are enduring (which is largely due to human factors), while, on the other hand, many of our scientifically illiterate “leaders” are denying reality and ignoring the scientists on a topic that completely relates to science: our natural world and the climate that sustains it.

There is little doubt that the measured increase in CO2 concentration in our atmosphere from 280 parts per million before the industrial revolution in the 19th century to a now whopping 410 ppm today is due largely to human activity and that this important gas and other greenhouse gases (such as methane) warm the atmosphere by trapping heat as a blanket does.

The ever-increasing oscillations between extremes that we are witnessing in the weather are clearly due to increasing atmospheric energy from this blanketing effect, which, like stretching a spring by adding more energy to it, sustains larger amplitude oscillations between hot and cold, drought and flooding due to deep instability caused by rapid warming.

When there is rapid change, nature (including humanity) will suffer greatly as it struggles to adapt. We need to ameliorate this problem by first recognizing our role in causing it. If not, the results of our experiment with unfettered release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere of our only home may cause dangerous atmospheric conditions that may threaten much of life on this planet.

Dr. Michael Pravica, Henderson, Nev.

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