Your letter writer asks on Sept. 30 if anyone can explain how CO2 will harm plants and the Earth, given that plants take this gas from the air to live on. It’s a fair question, because the carbon-oxygen exchange was always presumed to be a stable system when I was in school.

But even then, our increasing levels of fuel consumption were destroying the balance that we live by, stressing the “exchange.” CO2 is heavier than oxygen; it’s a greenhouse gas that traps heat close to the planet’s surface, preventing the Earth from cooling off at night, with the overall global warming that we are now living with: hotter summers and winters, too, and warmer ocean waters that produce more frequent, and deadlier hurricanes by feeding heat into cyclonic patterns.

I became interested in this issue and sought information when I had relatives die in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina 14 years ago. But the hurricanes are not the half of it. Trees absorb CO2, but they’re at their absorption limit now. This gas pollutes the air but also enters seawater, acidifying the oceans and wrecking ecosystems there. Since we’re overgrazing and over farming our lands nowadays, disrupting the world’s fisheries is one of the last things we want to do, for our own food prospects, which are already threatened by land and water pollution.

But that’s not all. It seems that we have set into motion a worldwide heating trend carried on ocean waters that reach both poles, North and South alike. The loss of polar ice is handicapping the Earth’s ability to deflect the sun’s heat rays back into space. Instead, the darker-color lands exposed from melting icecaps and glaciers worldwide are absorbing more heat, more quickly, accelerating the warming trend and endangering the entire planet and everything on it.

There are those in public office who want to drill for more oil in the polar regions, adding to the gas and particle emissions from the fossil fuels that cause global warming in the first place. Add to this the fact that our pollution controls on vehicles have been relaxed in the U.S., even as we’re capable of generalizing them through the population and addressing this environmental crisis with more and more sophistication. Instead, the U.S. is refusing to sign treaties to limit the global warming that is quickly pricing us out of a planet. This is not hyperbole. I don’t know about you, but I have grandchildren and I’d like them to survive me.

Cathy Bodin


(17) comments


Matt writes "Greed and politics will continue to win out over science, until things get really bad. By then it’ll be too late." And he may be right. However, the same science that warns of climate change is used for the technology to replace our energy resources and to make us much more efficient in the use of our energy. Oil (and even coal) can be saved for use as chemical stocks when needed. They will retain value and still help us preserve the environment. Just an example of what technology can do to help us out of this problem. And it will cost, and the returns will be great. We do have a problem and we can fix it.

Jeff Wilson

Cathy, if you are a person of faith, you may be interested in a Frederick County organization called Multifaith Alliance of Climate Stewards. We have a Facebook page and a rudimentary web page:


The answer to most of our current problems is very simple - stop having so many babies! Instead of a tax credit, people should pay extra taxes for having children. This would simultaneously reduce the number of humans on the earth and increase funds to protect the earth. People have truly become the pests destroying our planet.




there's no inherent "upper limit" of people (or rather, it's nowhere near what we're at now). it's not about that, it's about how the current economy is run, which requires unsustainable growth in capital and therefore consumption. if you really want to help, just vote for people who will actually do something and not lying sociopaths.

shifting the blame to individuals is just letting the real culprits off the hook


How have you determined what is acceptable as an upper limit? I believe the damage we are doing to the planet and other species has already passed the upper limit, and yet I'm forced to help population growth by covering in income taxes for parents who get income tax deductions/credits for the children they have rather than paying for the additional costs they create.(especially at the state and local level).







Great letter.


Terrific and horrific LTE.[thumbup]


Humanity is stuck in circular logic: We’ve accumulated enormous wealth at the expense of the environment. But it’s all been borrowed on credit, because we inadvertently altered the climate which is now having disastrous effects at a tremendous financial cost that we can’t sustain and will get much worse. Yet, many politicians won’t act because they say it’s too expensive and will disrupt the economy. This do nothing approach makes the problem worse. Circular logic. Greed and politics will continue to win out over science, until things get really bad. By then it’ll be too late. Way to go humanity!








So the answer is to annihilate everyone so the earth can return to normal?


A perfect example of reductio ad absurdum (Latin for "reduction to absurdity").

Like the social security "problem" this can be fixed. The question is "How much disruption can we manage?" because the more we fix the more it will cost.

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