Saturday, September 22, 2018

Letters to Editor

Voice of the People 07/03/18

Do CO2 research

In the a June 17 column about the benefits of higher CO2 in the atmosphere, the author took strands of truth and wove them into something rather misleading.

While it’s true that CO2 promotes plant growth, one thread in a large and complex tapestry reveals little of the whole. We’ve known since the 1800s that CO2 causes warming; as CO2 levels climb so do global temperatures. Those warmer temperatures are putting in motion some alarming, costly and disruptive consequences — everything from more intense pollen seasons to massive wildfires and devastating hurricanes.

I think any positive effect on plants is far outweighed by negative impacts elsewhere. Furthermore, it’s important to remember that although it’s true there have been times of high CO2 levels in the Earth’s history, those were at least several million years before humans appeared on the scene. That means we are essentially conducting a grand experiment on ourselves and all other living things. This is uncharted territory, and the author does no one a favor suggesting otherwise.

An investigation into the background of the author and the scientists he cites quickly revealed that all three have connections to organizations dedicated to casting doubt on well-established climate science. Not surprisingly, funds from the fossil fuel industry are involved. Some are the same organizations that worked long and hard to spread doubt and disinformation about the hazards of tobacco use. That does nothing to reassure me. Evidence suggests that the author is engaged in a similar campaign with regard to climate change.

So readers and editors, please do a few minutes of research when you run across claims like the author’s that contradict established scientific knowledge. If we want a gentler conclusion to this grand experiment we’re engaged in, we need more clarity, not confusion.

Patricia Scott

Eau Claire

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