Traverse City Record-Eagle

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December 30, 2013

Letters to the Editor: 12/30/2013

Risking the unknown

A Dec. 18 letter asserted the Earth is “resilient to activities that our species may impose on the atmosphere.” I find the implied argument in support of this assertion tenuous: the carbon composition of Earth’s atmosphere is so small (400 parts per million) that any change in Earth’s carbon levels will be negligible. Thus, no climate change will occur.

It’s indisputable CO2 comprises a small part of Earth’s atmosphere; what’s contentious is the effect even a small change in greenhouse gas levels will cause. Earth’s atmosphere is conducive to life because a balance has been struck between innumerable variables, including biological gas exchange. I think it’s safe to say that humans’ industrial activity in the past 200 years has, at the very least, jeopardized that balance. To what extent an imbalance would affect the Earth’s overall climate remains to be determined.

I’ll concede uncertainty regarding the effects of greenhouse gas change on Earth’s climate. Yet, I’m startled that people interpret this doubt as confirmation that climate change doesn’t exist. I’d rather we make sacrifices to sustain our current global balance than avoid change and risk a distant, unknown hazard.

Evan Perry

Traverse City

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