Science and case making


Here is some science for Gayle Neilson (“Believe the scientists,” Letters, Sept. 6), based on half a century working as a geologist on earth science information. 

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The climate has been changing for millions of years. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased since the industrial revolution. Greenhouse gases like CO2 [1%] and water vapor [99%] have a modifying influence on temperature. 

However, the major controller of temperature is the intensity of solar radiation incident upon the earth. 

Firstly, the atmosphere is a thermodynamic system. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. The energy produced by humanity to produce CO2 is less than one 5,000th of total solar energy on the earth’s surface. Humanity’s energy input is miniscule. Its ability to raise the temperature is small. 

Secondly, the formation and melting of the North American ice sheet over the past 10 to 15,000 years is caused by the cyclic precession of the earth’s axis of rotation changing the angle of incidence of solar radiation and influencing the atmospheric temperature at the earth’s surface. The ice sheet is still melting because Canada is moving solar south at the rate of about one degree every 70 years. 

Thirdly, CO2 is a vital component of the atmosphere. Every living thing contains carbon that once circulated in the air as CO2. The primary natural sources of CO2 are the degassing of 500 terrestrial volcanic fields on the planet. The biosphere constantly consumes CO2 and stores it in the sink. If it was not resupplied all things on earth would die. CO2 is not pollution. 

Finally, selectively collecting data to prove preconceived, human-caused climate change is not science. It is case making. 

My personal environmental catechism is: clean air and water and conservation of energy and materials. 

Albert Reeve, Gibsons

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