Walt Staruk was back in fashion again on the Jan. 9 opinion page, peddling his two favorite bogus assertions about climate change: The prevailing science doesn’t prove humans contribute significantly to global warming, and those who presume we are want to institute global socialism in order to reverse it. It’s confounding that The News-Post continues to publish his letters, which on the whole are full of discredited science, half-truths and outlandish speculation.

Like Walt, I’m not a climate scientist. But I accept the preponderance of peer-reviewed scientific data amassed by very smart people at NASA, NOAA and myriad scientific agencies around the world who are unequivocal in their assessment that human activity is indeed warming the planet. Worse, we’re just in the nascent stages of cataclysmic natural disasters that these scientists have been predicting for decades. What further proof does one need to understand that this really is happening?

Let me debunk a taste of Walt’s phony scientific arguments. In his latest letter, he slips in a reference to the “Little Ice Age,” a canard often used by deniers to lead people into believing that what’s happening now is just a continuation of a natural warming cycle that began in a pre-industrial age. Walt is correct that the LIA effect was “natural” as it was caused by an acute period of volcanism late in the 13th century that had a delayed, short-term cooling effect on parts of Europe (University of Colorado and the National Center for Atmospheric Research [NCAR], January 2012: Abrupt onset of the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanism and sustained by sea‐ice/ocean feedbacks). However, there’s no correlation to the cause of the LIA to what’s causing the climate to change now, which is owed entirely to our incessant burning of oil and coal from the onset of the Industrial Revolution. According to NASA (climate.nasa.gov), “This recent relentless rise in CO2 shows a remarkably constant relationship with fossil-fuel burning, and can be well accounted for based on the simple premise that about 60 percent of fossil-fuel emissions stay in the air.” And there are no other terrestrial or extraterrestrial factors happening at present, like variations in Earth’s orbit or changes in solar weather, that account for Earth’s current warming trajectory. It’s all on us.

Walt went on to speculate, without offering any scientific proof whatsoever, that temperatures “should peak again in a century or two, then decline.” He is dead wrong on the latter part of that statement. NOAA has a line graph tracking the atmospheric CO2 concentration looking back 800,000 years (climate.gov). During this period the concentration fluctuated within a range around 180 to 300 parts per million (ppm). In 1950, we passed 300 ppm for the first time in 300,000 years, and in 2013 the concentration passed 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history. The current level is around 413 ppm and rising. NASA puts this problem in sobering terms: “If fossil-fuel burning continues at a business-as-usual rate, such that humanity exhausts the reserves over the next few centuries, CO2 will continue to rise to levels of order of 1500 ppm. The atmosphere would then not return to pre-industrial levels even tens of thousands of years into the future.”

Not even Walt disputes that higher levels of CO2 bring about higher temperatures, so it’s safe to say that if we don’t stop what we’re doing, the Earth will soon become so hot that the surface will be uninhabitable for us and most other species. Then what?

In my estimation, Walt’s not really trying to convince people this isn’t happening, because the science he presents doesn’t hold up to serious scrutiny. Instead his aim is to inject doubt and fear into people’s minds so that they think the cost of taking action really isn’t worth it. His letters are nothing more than political punditry masquerading as a legitimate scientific debate — ‘The socialist bogeyman is coming to get us!’ The science is settled; the only thing left for us to do is take careful consideration of solutions.

As far as we know, this planet is a solitary miracle of life out in the cosmos. There’s no help for us out there if we can’t solve this self-inflicted crisis, so we really have no choice but to get on it. The worst thing any of us can do is sit back and wait for others to take action.

(88) comments

mrnatural1

On Jan 18, 2020 @ 9:42am threecents wrote:

"Sorry, I was thinking about our birth rate, which has steadily declined for decades from about 25 per 1000 in the 1950s to about 11 per 1000 now. And since our life expectancy already peaked, we are making progress, in a way. We just need more access to and education about birth control, family planning, and abortion... Still too late?"

~

No problem, people often get the impression that our population is stable or shrinking when they hear that the fertility rate is below 'replacement level'.

There are a few factors at play. A couple are:

1) The "growth is good" cult members who support the Ponzi scheme pyramid that calls for an endlessly increasing number of humans want to confuse the issue. They are terrified the their avarice-fueled fantasy of infinite growth on a finite planet will come to an end during their lifetime.

2) Immigration (legal and illegal) is the source of most of our population growth. Needless to say, that's a third rail issue that few want to touch. In fact, it's more like a 'lightning bolt issue' because it involves: immigration policy; foreign aid; welfare; health care; contraceptives; abortion; refugee policies; unemployment; GW/CC and other environmental issues; resource depletion; exploitation of immigrants; on and on and on.

There's a reason I go by "Mr. Natural" and not my real name. [wink]

Tying this back to the subject of the climate crisis -- the fact is that not only is the U.S. already grossly overpopulated, where people live has a huge impact on their carbon footprint. The ugly truth is that Western/developed countries contribute far more than their share of CO2, other greenhouse gasses, and trash. That's another reason why almost everyone -- regardless of tribe -- should agree that improving conditions where would-be immigrants live is the most practical, environmentally friendly, and humane. We can help many more people that way (schools, roads, libraries, etc are less expensive in less developed countries). Doing so would lower the number of refugees, save money, save our land and natural resources, and save money -- which, since we have a $23T debt, is critical.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Mrnatural1,

You are too late in beating the over population issue. In 1969 (were you born yet) In July 1969 then President Nixon addressed Congress on the issue of population, he said: “One of the most serious challenges to human destiny in the last third of this century will be the growth of the population.” This was decades before climate change was a household word. Nixon then created Nixon a high-calibre commission that would deal with the consequences of a possible over-population, and thus the Commission on Population Growth and the American Future was established the following spring. Nixon appointed as chairperson John D. Rockefeller III, who had been pushing for the creation of this kind of expert panel since the Eisenhower administration. Nixon also assigned his Secretary of State and former national security advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger who gave the over- population issue the highest priority.

Under /Rockefeller and Kissinger’s aegis, the National Security Council submitted the so-called National Security Study Memorandum 200 to President Ford in 1974.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Study_Memorandum_200

MD1756

[thumbup] Mr. Natural

Moon otter

Matt,

Well written letter. And yes we can all do our bit. Problem is that over population of humans will be the earth's demise. Not to say we don't do anything but policies must be done correctly. Solar energy should be placed on all buildings when feasible. Also we shouldn't take valuable land for farming or forests and convert into solar farms. Same thing with windmills. The fossil fuel industry we need to use it wisely in figuring out the least amount of damage for a more sustainable energy source. We waste energy. We should have waste to energy plants. We have the technology. We create more waste than we recycle. Glass is no longer accepted as recyclable and in the plastic end (only 1, 2 are accepted) the others are not easily recycled due to the plastic content they are made of. Plastic bags should be eliminated back to paper. Lot of things can be made with corn starch. Our cat litter we use is sWheat scoop made of the wheat chaff and is biodegradable. When driving combine errands so you aren't doing individual run a rounds. The list is endless folks but the problem is human's over population will be the earths demise.

mrnatural1

Moon otter, shhhhh, don't talk about overpopulation.

The same scientists who continue to warn us about Global Warming/Climate Change (GW/CC) agree that TOO MANY PEOPLE is the primary issue that underlies all of our most serious problems.

Still, there are people who simply refuse to acknowledge the fact that America and the Earth are both well beyond their sustainable population. Because they have absolutely no facts to back up their position, they immediately resort to ad hominem attacks. Prepare to be labeled a: racist; white supremacist; xenophobe; and/or eugenicist.

That's right -- anyone who is concerned about preserving what's left of Frederick County, America, and the planet is evil and should be viciously attacked and silenced.

Obadiah Plainsmen

You mean there are other racist; white supremacist; xenophobes beside Trump voters , welcome to the island of misfit toys. Enjoy your stay.

threecents

No reason why population control should not be one of the tools to fight global warming. I don't think that is much of an American issue, as our population is not increasing.

mrnatural1

threecents,

Just to clarify, the population of America is steadily increasing and that increase is projected to continue. Check out this link:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/183481/united-states-population-projection/

By 2050 -- just 30 years from now -- U.S. population will be almost 400,000,000.

The scientific consensus is that about 175,000,000 is the sustainable population level.

We can't control what other countries do but we need to slow, stop, and reverse our population growth as quickly as possible without upsetting the "Ponzi Pyramid of Growth" too much.

threecents

Sorry, I was thinking about our birth rate, which has steadily declined for decades from about 25 per 1000 in the 1950s to about 11 per 1000 now. And since our life expectancy already peaked, we are making progress, in a way. We just need more access to and education about birth control, family planning, and abortion... Still too late?

threecents

To clarify, by population control, I mean birth control, family planning, and availability of abortion.

mrnatural1

Too late threecents.

You will be known as a misanthrope; racist; xenophobe; and eugenicist forever more.

[wink]

threecents

Good thing I don't post with my real name.

jsklinelga

mrnatural

I like your response below countering my claims about Amazon. Several interesting thoughts came to mind. One you said you did not cherry pick the info they were the first to pop up from Google. Well do you think Google algorithmically cherry picked the data? Supporting a huge internet company (Amazon) dependent on Google as opposed to people shopping without the Internet.

Do you think Google actually disseminates information selectively with an intended cultural or social objective? Many people do and some have testified to this. It is their right but should we consider their selection to be any more credible than going to Wikipedia for research. My point. We have realms of information at our fingertips. How do we chose regarding subjects like climate change? Do we cherry pick subconsciously? Does Google track our interests and pop to the top tailored info? We know they do. And likewise they block info.

Is it any wonder that "science" is questioned. Whose science, from what source. etc. etc. Just a reality. I have said for a long period that I thought population was the key driver of climate change. And it is. But I do not think population control is NATURAL. So I asked Google if population control was the best solution. And in big bright blue letters, the first 3 responses shouted NO.

mrnatural1

jsklinelga,

I've heard the claims that Google, Snopes, Facebook, etc, are biased in one way or another.

Is that true? Who knows? That's one of an almost infinite number of subjects for which most people cannot possibly be expected to know, or determine, the truth with certainty. As with so many things, we must trust and rely on people who are better educated and more knowledgeable than we are. If 99.8% of medical institutions, scientists, researchers, and physicians say that the flu vaccine = good, and contracting the flu = bad, I'm going to depend on their professional opinion. Could they all be wrong? Corrupt? Biased? Bribed? Anything is possible, but it's highly unlikely. Still. there is a small but vocal group of 'anti-vaxxers' who disagree. For whatever reason they have decided to ignore all professional advice and no amount of data will change their mind.

There's often no point in discussing such subjects because no matter what a person's position/opinion is they can find data/info that supports it. Conflicting info could come from any number of respected sources -- MIT; Cal Tech; NIH; NASA; 11,000 scientists from around the world, whatever -- and it would be brushed off as being somehow biased if not outright lies.

We live in a world where, now more than ever, people have made up their mind about various subjects. They have no interest in being open to new ideas and facts. That's a serious problem. I'm certainly not a Google fanboy -- in fact, I think they are almost as evil as Facebook. It would not hurt my feelings one bit if it turned out they were biased left or right, or toward large online businesses, etc. If there is solid, objective (not political) evidence that Google is biased, I would be completely open to it.

That said, my guess is that there are PLENTY of people with a vested interest in search results who are keeping an eagle eye on Google. They are ready to pounce, and begin serving lawsuits if they have any solid evidence of bias.

For that reason alone it is in Google's best interest to play it straight. If they were demonstrably biased, not only would they be sued they would lose customers. People would use other search engines.

That might be one way to determine if a search engine is biased -- do identical searches on a variety of search engines and compare the results.

Moon otter

In my family end, my parents had six, the boomer era, but out of the six only four had children and that total was six. Now out of those six there is only five so far. Basically replacement so far not adding above replacement yet. The sad thing is religion plays a big role, the more evangelical you get more children. Kinda reminds of the History of the world Part 1 show one family they are RCers tons of kids and all raggedy basically poor, very little food, then we the good protestant family, two kids well dressed, food on the table. Get it.. Resources are finite, then there will be a major war fighting over what is left.

public-redux

Thoughts and earnest wishing are certainly the very least we could all do.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Let’s make a deal I’m open to a carbon tax to fight the effects of human caused climate change at a rate decided by local and state governments. As long as a separate tax at same rate is instituted for the homeless, hungry, and orphans in Frederick county.

FCPS-Principal

I'm not open to either. One does not 'fight' the current ongoing climate change. The climate will definitely win the fight. Rather, one accommodates and dapts by changing behavior, making better choices, doing things differently to mitigate its effects.

Obadiah Plainsmen

One solution for a host of problems. Can people actually change behavior, make better choices and change their lifestyle to mitigate effects without the government telling them how, when and how much? Reading the comments I doubt it.

threecents

I don't know what that means, but you throw in a Chris Davis rookie card and we have deal. Pinky promise.

Obadiah Plainsmen

How about a autograph Ted Williams baseball and box of cracker jacks.

public-redux

I suspect the autographed Cracker Jack box would be rarer and more valuable than the autographed ball.

jsklinelga

I really did not give much thought to Mr. Staruk's letter but after all the attention I went back and read it. He indirectly makes a point worth pondering. All these socialist climate activist want the government to solve their problems. Thank God for private innovation and solutions or we would really be in trouble.

Today we see the results of typical government vs innovation and drive. The democrats have spent all their effort and our money pushing an impeachment that did not even get all democrat support. And they made a grand affair of it. While today President Trump's MCTA passed and the first phase of the China Trade deal was signed.Thank God for the doers.

And what about the typical government GAO. An impeachment has been going on for months and now, just now they came to a conclusion And we want government to solve our problems. Fortunately the GAO has a poor track record on opinions being validated. But still. Typical government and why the smart money is on capitalism and innovation. Just check your 401K;s.:And let the real doer's solve the CO2 problem, not the government.

MD1756

The CO2 "problem" is due in large part to the increasing human population. The government already has tax policies that promote having children, so would you support ending that government interference?

FCPS-Principal

The government is the only entity that can solve problems through policy and law, that private interests have no interest in solving. No private interest in interested in climate change because it costs them no money. If fact they make more money off of it.

BTW my 401(k) has been stagnant since 2017. So has yours.

jsklinelga

FCPS

"The government is the only entity that can solve problems through policy and law.." WOW AND WOW!! You just supported the concerns of Mr. Staruk's letter. That is the essence of socialist thought. Thank goodness you are wrong.

The government can institute policies for change. The Montreal Protocol, instituted under a Republican Administration is a prime example. But what if the government is severly divided or in a civil war (extreme example)? What policies are they going to successfully implement?

You underestimate the drive and innovation fostered by a capitalist system. There is a real problem for which most people would agree. The folks that invent ways to solve that problem are going to reap rewards. Certainly our best and brightest are not sitting around waiting for government to act. The opportunity to become the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs is looming right before them. Carbon recapture and commercial marketing is gaining steam. Who knows what the next great technological advancement will be?

And I did not have a 401K but if I did and mine had been stagnant during this record breaking surge in the financial markets, I would seriously think about getting new advisers.

Moon otter

you do know 401ks you are buying stocks spread out in a group. You aren't buying individual stocks out right. Yes government supports a lot of research whether done in the private sector or public. Think NIH, Fort Detrick, universities and colleges.

shiftless88

Jim; you seem to forget that for private industry to make money someone has to want what they are selling. If government does not set some standards for reduction in greenhouse gases, no industry will work on it. It is the setting of the policy that drives the market.

MD1756

If your 401k has been stagnant maybe you're in the wrong investments. I'm currently taking out $1,000 per month from one of my IRAs and it is still growing in value. By the way, investing in solar and geothermal for home use gives relatively risk free rates of return of roughly 3.5% to 10%.

mrnatural1

MD1756,

I wasn't going to say anything, but since you paved the way... [cool]

It would be difficult to throw darts at a list of mutual funds approved for a 401K and pick a group that has lost value or been stagnant recently. Any simple US stock market index fund has returned well over 10% in recent years.

In fact, from 2009 to 2019, the annualized return was about 14.7%!:

http://www.moneychimp.com/features/market_cagr.htm

That's what an unmanaged index fund would return -- well, minus the admin fee which for Vanguard is about 0.04%.

In the past few years the gains from our 457 and Roth IRAs have been greater than my pension benefit.

Because it seems almost everything is political, I have to mention that while presidents usually "own" the economy, the reality is that they often have very little control over it -- good or bad. My intent is not to praise Obama or Trump -- only to point out that the mysterious forces that control the economy have been very benevolent since the recovery in 2009.

Good point about the ROI on solar and geothermal systems!

StrengthofLiberty

Read this article about the state moving on a Carbon Tax. Take a look at what gets the lions share. The same when it comes to tax proposals for counties. Read the budget that is being discussed. Do you see any real climate investment? A carbon tax that goes to ... Everybody ... Schools. https://www.marylandmatters.org/2020/01/15/lawmakers-eye-carbon-tax-to-pay-part-of-kirwan-tab/?fbclid=IwAR3BmxB4lQPGjNXV9mGW9k3j_5UBsZ0B_dSezBMOyFFnXc_7ShxoR1wVJlw

The complexity of financially fixing this eminent collapse of all eco-systems if somethings isn't done right away ... is ... old. As is the notion of the recent drove party proposal of hashtag climate future 2050. So its 2050 now is it? I am not writing from a position of denying anything. My devotion to the ennvironment is bound to devotion to God, and my moral responsibility to care for that which I love most. Imagine how I feel watching public treasury money being pipelined into that holy mantra: Schools. Roads. On and on and on ... Banging the Peter and the Wolf strategy is adding nothing to the necessities of making sure that if a carbon tax passes, that those monies go into our environmental conservation, preservation and restoration efforts. If there are any outside of banning balloons, while recycling goes the way of what ... most vital ideas in America. Reduced to political hackery while those trendy colored grey massive houses pop up in places like Middletown. So please, stop speading helplessness pretending to be science. We get the science. I want to love the environment without the lense of ruination thank you very much. What I can do - I in fact am doing.

MD1756

We need a "lock box" for those funds so they go towards solving environmental problems.

Piedmontgardener

Perhaps facts will make a strong return. One can only hope. Nice LTE, Matt. I always appreciate smart people who don't have a political ax to grind. That's where all of this "Alternative Facts" nonsense comes from.

collinsm65

My father was a climate scientist and PhD in glaciology. I'd take the word of 97% of those types vs the 3% who are either paid to stick their head in the sand, uneducated to understand science to begin with, unable to comprehend science regardless of what is put out in plain English for them to review, or just willfully stupid on the entire subject. Ergo....Walt.

threecents

That 3% will probably not acknowledge we could have mitigated global warming even after Trump Tower is under water.

gabrielshorn2013

One only needs to look at the front page of today's Washington Post at the graph of mean world temperature form NASA’s Goddard's Global Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) to see what is happening. https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2020/01/15/2010s-hottest-decade-world/?arc404=true

This is not opinion or "fake news". This is plotting the actual data in a graph.

"The findings, released jointly by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, detail a troubling trajectory: 2019 was the second-hottest year on record, trailing only 2016. The past five years each rank among the five hottest since record-keeping began. And 19 of the hottest 20 years have occurred during the past two decades."

“No individual hot year — or hot day or hot season, for that matter — is by itself evidence for climate change. But this hot year is just one of many hot years in this decade,” said Kate Marvel, a research scientist at NASA and Columbia University. “The planet is statistically, detectably warmer than before the Industrial Revolution. We know why. We know what it means. And we can do something about it.”

"Instead, global greenhouse gas emissions hit a record high in 2019, even as they fell slightly in the United States, and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now sits at the highest level in human history — a level probably not seen on the planet for 3 million years."

jsklinelga

gabrielhorn2013

The Washington Post? Really? A company owned by Jeff Bezos who runs another company with an absolute atrocious carbon footprint. Zillions of single packages delivered, and often returned, daily by air and by truck. I am sure none of these socially conscious warmist commenting here use Amazon, but still. Why even give any of his companies any credence.

It is this type of hypocrisy that actually hinders progress. But there will be progress because there is money to be made solving the problem.

gabrielshorn2013

Remember the soothsayer telling Caesar to beware the ides of March, jsk? Do not dismiss the issue because of the messenger. The data for the story came from NASA, NOAA, and others. To blatantly ignore the data that clearly illustrates a problem is just irresponsible. The graph on the front page of the WaPo came from NASA raw data, and came from NASA itself. Yes, there are many who don't examine their own actions, and point at others, expecting them to change. I posted several times that to someone else, each of us are someone else. Change starts at home.

jsklinelga

Gabe

I thought about your exact point after I posted. The biggest impediment to any unified effort is the sharp divisions in our country. Jeff Bezos and the WaPo are prime players. Anything they print is viewed with skepticism by many. And the skepticism extends to much of the media which blurs any message. Thus innovations and solutions to climate warming is seriously hamstrung.

Somehow this has become a Dem vs Rep issue. The dangers of a divided house. It should not be. The Montreal Protocol was instituted during the Reagan years. But the division shows little prospect for change. Consider the impeachment. If it is dismissed the Dems have pledged to start again. if for some unforeseen reason Trump would be impeached we would face an even more intense division.Thus climate change falls prey to our social differences.

But we do point fingers at others and look past our behavior. Who is going to forego using Amazon. Or what politician is going to zealously advocate blocking any expansion of our heavily traveled roads? In reality, currently, any effort to mitigate the effects of global warming our being impeached: "the action of calling into question the integrity or validity of something."

mrnatural1

jsklinelga,

You've mentioned Amazon a couple times here, saying above that they have "an absolute atrocious carbon footprint". That caught my eye because I generally shop online, often from Amazon. I'd like to shop locally, but for several reasons, shopping online just makes more sense. One of those reasons is all of the driving that is required when shopping locally, which costs a lot per mile (the IRS and CR agree on about $0.55/mile +/-, dep. on vehicle age, etc) and creates a lot of CO2 emissions.

When looked at overall, with no reference, no doubt that Amazon's carbon footprint is large -- but when compared to shopping locally Amazon is actually better for the environment.

I found a few sources to back that up:

1) "It’s easy to condemn Americans’ obsession with online retail as unsustainable over-consumption, but when the numbers are pitted against in-store shopping, online shopping is actually the more eco-friendly option. Think of delivery services as public transportation for your packages, where everyone’s package rides the same bus instead of your personal car."

https://inhabitat.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-online-versus-in-store-shopping/

2) https://stanfordmag.org/contents/the-environmental-impact-of-online-shopping-nitty-gritty

3) https://ctl.mit.edu/sites/default/files/library/public/Dimitri-Weideli-Environmental-Analysis-of-US-Online-Shopping_0.pdf

I didn't cherry-pick those, they were all at the top of first the Google search page that came up.

Of course we should all buy less "stuff", and be very selective and careful about what we do purchase. That's the ideal solution.

MD1756

Other interesting sources are comparisons of historic observations (such as Henry David Thoreau "Waldon's Pond") and current observations. For example see: https://news.utk.edu/2019/03/15/using-thoreau-scientists-measure-the-impact-of-climate-change-on-wildflowers/ which summarizes a study that uses 152 years since Henry David Thoreau"s observations in Concord, MA, EPA's web page also has information that makes observations about how the change are different in different areas such as "Leaf and bloom events are generally happening earlier throughout the North and West but later in much of the South (see Figures 2 and 3). This observation is generally consistent with regional differences in temperature change (see the U.S. and Global Temperature indicator).

Other studies have looked at trends in leaf and bloom dates across all of North America and the entire Northern Hemisphere. These studies have also found a trend toward earlier spring events—some more pronounced than the trends seen in just the contiguous 48 states."

Obadiah Plainsmen

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the right of all Americans and should be for all the world’s population . But climate change activists and scientists will soon challenge this right in court. Human-caused climate change will be adopted as a human-right violation(Denmark 2015). Their right to life(ironic isn’t it) is being denied by the continuation of fossil fuel dependent societies. America being the worst is in the crosshairs of this movement. But first they must figure out how to disarm the population. And one just has to look at Virginia to see how it will be done.

shiftless88

That statement has not been true of this country since it was written.

collinsm65

You can pursue your happiness all you want, until it tramples on humanities right to exist in a world that isn't livable. Just like you can speak with all the freedom you want, but you won't be immune from the consequences of your stupid ramblings. You even go rambling on about guns again. ADHD much?

Obadiah Plainsmen

Use a couple trigger words in a comment and people become unhinged. Take a deep breath while it’s still possible.

Boyce Rensberger

A fine letter, Matt Seubert. Thank you.

I would add that Earth is already committed to several decades of further warming (both from what is already in the atmosphere and oceans and from our slow adoption of technological improvements) but that it is worth pushing now for the sake of those who will live in the 22nd century.

Boyce Rensberger

Hm I didn't notice what comment was deleted. It's fun watching, figuratively, spittle fly from the mouths of people who don't know much, especially science.

Comment deleted.
DickD

And you are one of the unscientific deniers? A Donald Trump cult member?

Comment deleted.
hayduke2

Ahh, this must be Walt....

wran

So, Mr. Seubert, you talk about the urgency of taking immediate action. Implementation will take years. Please tell me what you are going to do on a personal basis immediately. Install solar panels on your roof, convert to geothermal. vastly change heating and cooling temperatures, stop using hot water in summer, stop driving you car, don't take airplanes, stop driving to stores, etc, etc, etc,?

threecents

Much more relevant that what Matt or any one individual does is what policy and societal changes will take place. The biggest effect we will have on global warming may be by voting.

gabrielshorn2013

Agreed three, but the phrase "think globally, act locally" means start with yourself, and work upwards. Matt has stated many times what he has done on his part to make a difference. He is an example of what we all could do. The more we, ourselves, do, the more it will catch on, until it becomes the norm for all.

threecents

Gabe, Probably you know this - that phrase was coined by the microbiologist and Pulitzer prize winner Rene DuBois, who played a major role in the discovery that DNA is the genetic material - at least in bacteria - back in the 1930s.

gabrielshorn2013

Thanks three. I had heard something like that, but never confirmed. You are absolutely correct! Someone attributes it to David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth in 1971, but the DuBois connection is much stronger. Thanks!

Boyce Rensberger

Rene Dubos

MD1756

While you asked Mr Seubert, I'll answer what I've done. I have installed solar and geothermal and have a HERS score of -11 for my home. I drive a hybrid and I haven't flown anywhere since I retired (last paid job was working at the U.S. EPA for 27 years now I just volunteer my skills to help a couple of environmental groups including helping to protect communities from large chemical plants violating environmental regulations). Additionally I have no children which means I have not added to the problems (not just climate change) caused by the growing human population. And I'm not even what some may call a "bleeding heart liberal."

What have you done wran?

threecents

MD, Do you any advice for us on how to go about getting solar and/or geothermal for our houses?

MD1756

Threecents, first get an energy audit. If you have Potomac Edison they have a program where it costs $100 (see: https://energysavemd-home.com/home-performance/). I already knew I needed more attic insulation but if you pay the $100 for the audit you can then get energy efficiency improvements that may qualify you for 75 percent of the costs — or up to $7,500. So it significantly reduced the cost of adding insulation. Next I did geothermal before solar because I was on oil heat and at the time it was roughly $4.25/gallon and since burning oil for home use has no pollution controls. By the time I negotiated the price after all incentives it cost about $13,000 out of pocket. I figure my rate of return was at least 7.5% but probably closer to 10%. If you have natural gas your rate of return won't be as high but again you are eliminating and uncontrolled source of pollution. If return on investment is your primary concern, then if you have gas heat you'll probably want to do solar before geothermal. In any event for either, get multiple estimates and negotiate. Since I had a well I have an open loop system that uses my well water to heat and cool the house they just had to dig the well deeper for the heat exchange aspect. If you don't have a well and do a closed loop (piped system) it will cost more, but I don't know how much (the costs to drill a well is about $11/ft variable cost and a closed loop system has to have a well that is about twice as deep as an open loop system and may have to be 250 feet of more deeper. Next I did solar and again get several estimates. If roof space doesn't matter you can go with panels that aren't the most efficient but are a better value. If you don't have the roof space for "a value system" then you may have to pay more for the more efficient panels (but those costs are lower than they were when I got my system in 2014. For the solar systems, in the long run I think it is better to buy a system rather than get in a leasing arrangement and may even be better if you don't plan to stay 10+ years because not having a lease is more attractive to potential home buyers. If you don't want to do your own research and bids for companies, Frederick county has had solar coops (see: https://www.solarunitedneighbors.org/co-ops/maryland/). You can get good prices but may be able to do better negotiating on your own if you're a good negotiator. I went with Solar Energy World (located in Elkridge, MD). I also applied for new credit cards that offered a couple hundred dollars back for the first $x amount spent in the first three months so that reduced the price of my systems even more, so if you have good credit, time it so you can get those benefits. Hope this helps.

threecents

MD[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

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matts853

See the article on page A2. Validates everything I wrote. If you’re so cocksure that you know better than the global scientific community, please write your own letter discrediting them. The world awaits for the truth....

KellyAlzan

Matt is triggered because of the backlash over balloon-gate.

Remember the Smokey the Bear campaign “only you can prevent forest fires”?

hayduke2

And you are reverting to elementary school behavior.

KellyAlzan

You say that like it’s a bad thing.

My point is, remember,’there is always a message hidden in my journalism - “only YOU can prevent global warming”

Alice Jones

It’s not a bad thing - in moderation. Try it out sometime.

gary4books

Some things are true, but we need to ask "What does that mean?" As in " the LIA effect was “natural” as it was caused by an acute period of volcanism late in the 13th century that had a delayed, short-term cooling effect on parts of Europe..." Since we have a big volcano in the Pacific right now. Things happen. We could have another "ice age" without warning and our carbon might save us from its worst effects. And my point is that we have to know what causes climate change and how to fix those problems - cooler or warmer. We need to be ready for both cases. It is not so easy.

threecents

The issue of climate change came up in Tuesday's Democratic debate with regard to the new trade agreement with China. Tom Steyer and Bernie were the only ones against it, and they both sited its lack of attention to global warming. The other candidates agreed that was a shortfall, but said it was better than nothing because it would probably help farmers, which I believe to be true. This was useful for those of us looking to choose between Liz and Bernie. Bernie is not willing to compromise policy on the environment. Interesting also that Liz went low against Bernie - basically accusing him of being anti-feminist, which is nuts.

gabrielshorn2013

👍👍👍 Matt! We cannot deny settled science.

Obadiah Plainsmen

So how does the world combat the fossil fuel problem? Yesterday BlackRock the world's biggest fund manager (7.23Trillion $) announced that it would be divesting in the fossil fuel industry. Ending 2019 1,200 institutions totaling 12 Trillion $ have announced that they too will stop investing in the Fossil fuel industry. Certainly the world is throwing a lot of money at the problem of combatting fossil fuel induced climate change. But wait (or Walt) here comes the 2nd richest person in the world and possibly the # 1 climate change activist saying that divesting in the fossil fuel industry has "zero" climate impact. What gives here. Should the world shut down the fossil fuel industry completely and immediately right now. Or let nature run it course.

https://www.ft.com/content/21009e1c-d8c9-11e9-8f9b-77216ebe1f17

gary4books

Good question: "Should the world shut down the fossil fuel industry completely and immediately right now. Or let nature run it course."? How about some tecchnology to use the fuel to make electricity and capture the carbon - if that is possible. Or use the chemicals as chemical stocks and not burn them. We do need chemicals. The energy can have other sources.

collinsm65

We would have all that technology, Gary, if it weren't for the constant bailing out of the coal industry by morons like Trump who honestly thought that you could simply wash coal with soap and water to make it clean coal. Add the entirety of the GOP who has sold their soul to the fossil fuel industry and passed and continue to try to pass asinine laws that directly contradict any scientific evidence....and we'd have been their long ago. Water is also a chemical...and we need a clean version of that too...but again we let Nestle suck that all out of the ground and charge up the wazooo for it while the GOP again passes legislation that favors this and Nestle's CEO's belief that water is NOT a human right. How about letting nature and more nature-friendly energy sources take a stand while Darwinian law takes hold of the fossil fuel industry as it should have long ago.

threecents

Yep, In 2016 Trump kept promising clean coal once he was elected, ignoring the fact that it is prohibitively expensive. It sounded great to his base.

collinsm65

Yes...the world should soon enough shut down the fossil fuel economy in the same manner we shut down the wagon and buggy industry when something better came along. You seem to be the one still yelling "get a horse" out on the streets.

Obadiah Plainsmen

Which has the least carbon footprint a automobile fueled by gasoline or a horse?

collinsm65

Oby...guess that analogy went zooming right over your head. Wagons were made obsolete by cars. Fossil fuels are obsolete already due to renewables except that the fossil fuels have been propped up by the GOP at every turn. Why do you think Trumpitydump wants to ban EPA, reduce mileage limits, wash coal and lie to people that it's coming back and continue giving subsidies and breaks to fossil fuels while contrarily cutting every aspect of any funding, research and incentive for renewables? There...is that simplistic enough for you?

jsklinelga

Matt

I commend you for writing a letter but it seems that you spent a lot of space condemning another person's opinion instead of using that space to be more informative on the science. 70 to 80 years ago it was the smog and air pollution. 30 to 40 years ago it was the fluorocarbons. Now it is the CO2. Man has made significant progress in combating human's impact on the environment and hopefully will continue. Mr. Staruk's letter addressed the politics of climate change. There is no doubt that it has become a political issue. Let us hope the people doing the real work focus on the problems not the politics.

threecents made the wisest comment about the issue in the past week. Paraphrasing, Humans will do what serves their personal interest. I just wonder how many "climate " activist commute long distances or cool and heat to comfort, 24./7,

The last sentence speaks volumes. "As far as we know, this planet is a solitary miracle of life out in the cosmos. There’s no help for us out there if we can’t solve this self-inflicted crisis, so we really have no choice but to get on it." If your only faith is in humans I feel immensely sorry for you.

threecents

Actually, what I said was that humans often do NOT do what is in their best interests. I was paraphrasing what two Nobel Prize winning economists said recently in an NPR interview. They said that some economic theories championed by many politicians turned out to be wrong because they assumed that people would mostly act in their best interests.

shiftless88

Plenty of informative science has already been written up. No need to regurgitate it in this letter. Note that there is a relationship between the smog/air pollution, fluorocarbons and CO2. You treat them as if they are separate things events with completely different sources. Essentially they are all aspects of crap we use and burn that then goes into our atmosphere and creates a change.

hayduke2

Wow, that's what you came away with. The references to "informative science" are there if you care to research yourself. No amount of factual information will change your mind anyway.

DickD

And you are a denier, a member of the Donald Trump cult? You believe Trump should be allowed to lie, cheat and steal, not to mention a few more things. Then you bring up religion. Do you believe in the Ten Commandments, Jim? If the answer is yes explain how you can support Trump.

jsklinelga

DickD

Radical, irrational politics is probably the biggest impediment to mitigating climate change. The Trump cult? So automatically if your for Trump you are a denier. Quite frankly I find the honesty and morality of Trump, although not exemplary, superior to the current Democrat party. And Matt raised the religion issue suggesting that everything that happens in this world is only a direct result of mankind's actions or a quirk of nature.

And obviously we have different religious holdings. I never thought the Ten Commandments should be posted in public places but that is not my right to say. I would like to see the Commandments of God given by Jesus, not Moses, posted prominently. Even non Christians or questionable Christians like Jefferson and Ghandi hold them in the absolute highest regard..

DickD

The problem I was trying to point out to you is that you do not practice what you preach. You still believe Trump's lies on Ukraine, among other things. You are not even honest to yourself!

public-redux

“I never thought the Ten Commandments should be posted in public places but that is not my right to say.”

Of course it is your right to say that. Free speech, you know.

“ I would like to see the Commandments of God given by Jesus, not Moses, posted prominently.”

And there is no reason why you or anyone else cannot can’t post them prominently on private property or on public property as part of a limited public forum. FWIW, though, I’m unfamiliar with any commandments given by Moses. I know only the ones ascribed to the god of the bible.

threecents

What Moses really gave us:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w556vrpsy4w

DickD

Jimk

Jim, I am not a Evangelical, so I do not know what they teach. The Catholic Church, from which the Protestant movement came from, taught us that the Ten Commandments were given to Moses; not Jesus.  Jesus was a Jew, he started a movement that became Christianity.

https://www.learnreligions.com/ten-commandments-700216a

"In the Bible story of Moses and the Ten Commandments, the moral laws of God are solidified into ten great mandates. These commands form the basis of Israel's covenant relationship with God.The God who had delivered his people from slavery in Egypt now called them to be wholly devoted to him alone. Only through obedience to God’s laws could Israel fulfill its role as a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.God gave these laws to Moses and the people on Mount Sinai. They were written by God's own finger on tablets of stone. Still today, for people who love God, the Ten Commandments serve as a guide for living in a way that demonstrates love for God and leads to a deeper experience of God’s love.

"https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments

"The Ten Commandments appear twice in the Hebrew Bible: in the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy. The commandments include instructions to have no other gods before him, to honor one's parents, and to keep the sabbath day holy, as well as prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, adultery, theft, dishonesty, and coveting. Different religious groups follow different traditions for interpreting and numbering them.Modern scholarship has found likely influences in Hittite and Mesopotamian laws and treaties, but is divided over exactly when the Ten Commandments were written and who wrote them."

MD1756

There are some who will try to do the right thing. As you know if you've read any of my previous comments, I put my money where my mouth is with my geothermal and solar essentially going carbon neutral/carbon negative with my home energy use. Add to the fact that I have no children adding to the problem of the growing human population and I'm doing more than most probably have or will do.

public-redux

Thoughts and earnest wishes!

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