Further response to the three previous letters (12/16 J.C. Vaughan; 12/22 V. Gress; 1/1 W. Staruk) is needed. The Frederick News-Post should no longer give climate-change deniers a platform. There are not two sides to every issue. There are opinions we don’t tolerate (like hate speech). There is full scientific consensus about climate change. Voices purporting debate or denying basic science must be ignored. This problem is too serious. There is debate about whether to use solar or offshore wind to mitigate climate change, but there is no debate in the science of the problem.
Ms. Gress is correct. Earth has warmed nearly 2 degrees since 1850. This is causing the climate to change dramatically. Nomads would migrate away, but we can’t just abandon our homes, farms, cities and vast infrastructure. We continue to affect our way of existence at our own peril — not to mention that of the world’s future grandchildren.
Mr. Vaughan is wrong. The excess carbon dioxide (CO2) that humans dump in the atmosphere absolutely must be labeled a pollutant. An analogy — mercury occurs naturally in the Earth’s crust, but when we concentrate it in our waterways and atmosphere through industrial processes, we label it a pollutant. And the EPA thankfully regulates it.
Mr. Staruk’s letter is so completely full of errors, I cannot fully comment. It’s a collection of misinformation, jumbled together with a smattering of facts.
Yes, CO2 is a trace gas. The air is 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen, leaving CO2 as less than 1 percent. But this is meaningless. Trace amounts of some poisons can kill millions. CO2 is a potent greenhouse gas that, along with several other gases, is causing our atmosphere to trap excess heat.
And yes, the ocean is basic. But it is becoming a weaker base (hence, more acidic). The pH has dropped from 8.21 to 8.1. This is a 29 percent change, because the pH scale is not linear (it is a negative log scale). By 2100 the pH is on track to acidify further to 7.8. This would be nearly a 150 percent change. This is acidic enough to dissolve shells, destroying the base of the marine food web and thereby putting most marine life at risk of extinction.
The October 2018 Special Report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is fact and should be read by everyone interested in understanding this issue and wishing to help solve it.