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« ‘Nature’s God’ of Jefferson probably isn’t Christian | Main | Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal, shame on you and your families »

July 18, 2008


jj mollo

The evidence that CO2 is rising in the atmosphere is incontrovertible. Everything else can be challenged at some level. But consider an analogy. Take a look at how long it took to prove beyond a doubt that cigarettes were bad for you. Nevertheless, there was always enough evidence available that sensible people could take the hint and stop smoking. Only people who had a vested interest, meaning cigarette producers, tobacco growers and denialist smokers, remained skeptical until the very end. (Yes, I have heard of smokers who lived til their 90s.)

The historically unusual level of CO2 in our atmosphere may not actually end up being disastrous, no one knows for sure, but it strikes me as unwise to take the risk. For one thing, it's pretty clear that the pH of the oceans is changing due to the excess levels of CO2. Hot or cold, changing the chemistry of the oceans has got to be a bad idea.

I guess there are motivations for people to lie about this. But think about the analogy again. Did doctors argue in favor of smoking? They certainly stood to gain from smoking.

So here's an ABC video about the pH problem if you need pictures.

Frank Warner

Obviously, we should avoid altering environmental balances. But the question also is, Which environmental change is most dangerous, and how much should we do about it?

CO2 is increasing, no doubt. But there is no incontrovertible evidence that the globe's atmosphere is continuing to warm up, and there is no specific figure on how much CO2 should be cut back to avoid unacceptable harm.

If the oceans were going to rise 23 feet this century, as Al Gore implied in his movie (by referring to current populations and leaving out dates), that would be much more urgent than if it's more likely the seas will rise only 2 or 3 feet in 100 years.

Majorities now are in favor of building more nuclear power plants. Some of the support is based on avoiding more CO2 emissions. Some is aimed at avoiding dependence on foreign dictators' energy supplies.

Productive compromise clearly is possible. We just need leaders willing to lead.


Once the "ncontrovertible" status is expunged, all member of the APS who held this position should resign and be banned from federal grant money.

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