Traverse City Record-Eagle


January 4, 2014

Letters to the Editor: 01/04/2014

Can’t replace facts

As a chemist I enjoyed Joe Grigg’s recent common sense letter on carbon dioxide (CO2) and climate. Unfortunately what common sense cannot do is replace knowledge. The heavens no longer revolve around the Earth.

CO2 is so crucial that without it in our atmosphere Earth would be a block of ice. CO2 is Earth’s thermostat. It must also be understood as a blanket and amplifier of temperature. Our heat comes from the sun. As the Earth completes its eccentric, wobbly 100,000-year cycle about the sun it is supplied various amounts of heat, held on the planet and amplified by carbon dioxide and the water vapor it allows in our atmosphere.

Earth once had high levels of CO2 and was very much warmer. Seas covered much of North America. In deep glaciation CO2 was 190 ppm. For all of human civilization CO2 had been at 280 ppm, glaciers receded and crops and civilization became possible.

Due to the willful ignorance and undue influence of the world’s wealthiest oil corporation and citizens (Exxon Mobile, the Koch brothers) the Earth will soon reach and go soaring past 600 ppm CO2. Science and common sense tell us this will cause great change, possible catastrophic change.

John T. Wierenga


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