To The Editor:
Walter Williams, on June 25, made some valid comments regarding the dumbing down in American education relating to history. His credentials indicate that he is a master in his field of economics, but he neglected to apply his critical thinking skills to the field of climate science and he himself “has fallen prey to charlatans, hustlers, and quacks” that spread false information about climate change.
Only 3 percent of climate scientists deny that man-made CO2 is warming our world more than usual. Would you trust the 3 percent of doctors who recommend a drug treatment for your stage 4 cancer more than the 97 percent of doctors who recommend surgery? Williams decided to listen to the 3 percent of climate scientists who deny the facts.
Williams wrote in a belittling way: “Climate change was recently renamed climate disruption... to not look silly in the face of cooling temperatures.” A renaming has indeed occurred but not for the reason he gave. It was for an attempt to reduce the ideological charge that was connected with terms like global warming and climate change.
He mentioned the snowball stage 650 million years ago. Why did he choose to mention this particular snowball stage when there was an earlier one and several later ones?
He wrote that “we’ve had both ice ages and higher temperatures when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today.” True, but 500 million years ago we had a CO2 concentration even 20 times the present level.
As the young Earth was getting older, natural greenhouse gases began to form, causing these extreme cold and warm periods to become less and less severe. Life on Earth, as we know it, could not exist without just the right amount of natural greenhouse gases in the atmosphere because they shield the Earth from too many cosmic rays and, in addition, prevent the Earth from cooling down too much at night. These gases function sort of like a blanket.
A problem arose when humans began to burn large amounts of fossil fuels, spewing CO2, the most abundant greenhouse gas, into the air. As more and more man-made CO2 is accumulating alongside the natural CO2, the increasing amount of greenhouse gases functions like a blanket that is getting thicker and thicker. Besides, warmer air can hold more moisture which then leads to heavier downpours and more severe storms. And, of course, those areas that get missed by rain clouds experience more severe drought.
According to NASA, in the past century alone the temperature has climbed about 10 times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming. (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page3.php).