Climate change

MERLE D. HARNISH

Lock Haven

A recent article in The Express reported on a presentation that was made to the Clinton County commissioners on climate change. I believe it is very important that we do not take actions that would possibly be very disruptive and expensive without complete and accurate information.

Taking action based upon feelings and emotions will more often than not lead to greater problems.

I have been critical of those who made claims of impending climate disaster and that it is caused by human activity, specifically burning of fossil fuels thereby releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. I believe it is an important debate, but I also believe that implementing policies based on incorrect or misleading reports will do irreparable harm to the economies of everyone, not just the United States, but all other countries.

It is important to base policy decisions on accurate, scientific observation and measurement, not on politically driven reports and publications.

I offer the following:

Australian geologist Ian Palmer wrote on Aug. 8, 2009, “At present, the earth’s atmosphere is starved of CO2. On all time scales, there is no correlation between temps and CO2. If there is no correlation, then there can be no causation.” The observed scientific record indicates there have been ice ages when CO2 concentration in the atmosphere was many times what it is today.

Robert Giegengack, former chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania has said, “I’m impressed by the fact that the present climate, from the perspective of a geologist, is very close to the coldest it has ever been.”

CO2 makes up .04 percent of the atmosphere. Although human emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels and other activities can build up in the atmosphere, they only make up about 3.5 percent of all the CO2 emitted each year, with the rest occurring naturally. Water vapor makes up 95 percent of all greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases make up only 2 percent of the total atmosphere. Does this small human contribution to the small amount of CO2 in the atmosphere really drive the climate?

Our knowledge of climate change and its causes is barely scratching the surface. Other factors, such as variations in solar activity, variations in the earth’s distance from the sun caused by gravitational pull from other objects in our solar system, changes in earth’s rotation and its gravitational field, all play a role.

A rush to judgment based on flawed reports has the potential to be disastrous for the United States and the whole world.

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