Home > Cande = Conjecture & Exaggeration, CO2-Free Energy (Example: Solar Electricity), Fande = Fact & Evidence, Original Thought, The Economy > The BIG PROBLEM: Human beings burning fossil fuels is the source of Global Warming

The BIG PROBLEM: Human beings burning fossil fuels is the source of Global Warming

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/science/earth/11climate.html

Letter to New York Times reporter, John M. Broder…

Mr. Broder,

I appreciate that you report on climate change, aka Global Warming. Thank you for that. However, your latest article, “Climate Fight is Heating Up in Deep Freeze,” misinforms on at least two points.

(1) You wrote: “Climate is, by definition, a measure of decades and centuries, not months or years.” No, that is not accurate. You are flat out wrong to write that. Climate is defined by years. Not decades. Not centuries. Years.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/climate

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/CLIMATE

“[By definition climate] is the composite or generally prevailing weather conditions of a region, as temperature, air pressure, humidity, precipitation, sunshine, cloudiness, and winds, throughout the year, averaged over a series of years.”

* Please run a correction.

(2) Nowhere in your article do you make plain that 2000-2009 was the warmest decade on record, since modern recordkeeping began in 1880, according to NASA, for example. This is an important distinction in the Climate Debate: no one disputes that we, as a planet, are experiencing hotter temperatures averaging over the 365-day calendar year, year after year. The obdurate few, i.e. the skeptics, question if it is caused by human beings burning fossil fuels, like oil and coal. Please make it as clear as the sunlight shining on your face when you walk outside that there is empirical evidence of Global Warming. Cite the NASA report.

* Please run a correction.

Now, here’s where I especially take umbrage with your reporting: the consensus is in…the vast majority of climate scientists agree that human beings burning fossil fuels is the cause of Global Warming. Yes, you wrote a very dry line about that: “Most climate scientists respond that the ferocious storms are consistent with forecasts that a heating planet will produce more frequent and more intense weather events.” Punch it up, man. This is an all-important topic! How about a highly accredited source corroborating that statement, like someone from NASA’s Goddard Institute, for instance?

The majority of climate scientists not only verify that the planet is getting hotter, but also state that this heating of the Earth is caused by human beings burning fossil fuels. There are skeptics out there who disagree, but they are in the minority. Make that explicit: most climate scientists assert human beings producing excessive carbon emissions could endanger our planet in its present form, and those who disagree are obstructing solutions to what could be mankind’s biggest problem. You wrote about a heating planet without crediting the cause. Neither “fossil” nor “fuel” appears in your article. No mention of “oil.” No mention of “coal.” When discussing the root cause, you and your expert source,  Joseph Romm, use euphemisms, like “human-driven” and “human-caused,” instead of pinpointing the source of the problem: human beings burning fossil fuels.

Have a global perspective when you are writing about Global Warming, please. This is not fun & games, political fodder, or a popular cultural phenomenon. This is our lives and our environment we are talking about. Icecaps melting, sea levels rising and coastal flooding affect each and everyone of us. Report on the subject matter with a tone of utmost importance, because it really is a life or death matter.

Your cute kicker, “In other words, if the government scientists are correct, look for more snow,” does not imbue the sense of life or death tone that the reporting of this matter deserves. And if you don’t believe that this is a life or death matter, you should not be reporting on it. You minimized the threat of human existence as we know it to a snowdrift. Think about the source of snow. It is a form of water–like icebergs and the ocean. Look at a map…we are surrounded by water, and those icecaps keep the beaches the way I (and most people) like them–without the coastal flooding. Keep this in mind next time you write, please.

We are nowhere near ready with a solution to deal with the potential disasters of Global Warming. For example, in California, the nation’s leader in using CO2-free forms of energy, Solar Electricity (Photovoltaics) makes up less than 1% of our energy mix. We need a solution, and your casual reporting of a serious matter is not helping to clarify that we have a big problem coming at us if we, human beings, don’t change our ways of burning excessive fossil fuels.

Thank you, your fellow American

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  1. February 15, 2010 at 4:58 am

    I liked your letter to broder very much. Good grasp of the facts and encouraged him to be a little more responsible when reporting on subjects of such far reaching consequences.

    Your comments were measured and intelligent – nice going.

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