‘Alarmists’ are needed


Re: Alarmists ignore essential truths, April 25; Report more enviro truths, May 7; Getting back to earthly basics, May 16.


Re: Alarmists ignore essential truths, April 25; Report more enviro truths, May 7; Getting back to earthly basics, May 16.

If I correctly understand the letters by Jan Christoffersen, Barbara MacPhee, and J.B. Latham, carbon-dioxide emissions are perfectly natural and therefore pose no risk to humanity or to life on Earth.

What of the Keeling Curve, showing the steady rise of CO2 in the atmosphere since the industrial age? It is now at the 400-parts-per-million level – greater than it has been for millions of years.

Salt is also a natural substance. But if we started dumping 30 billion tons of salt annually into our fresh-water systems, the water would be unfit to drink or to use for irrigation until we allowed the salt to be flushed out – and we stopped adding more.

Also, unlike Latham’s volcanic eruptions, which achieve balance in nature by contributing to soil fertility and rejuvenating life, the CO2 emissions of industrial civilization come with deforestation and desertification, limiting the capacity of nature to sequester carbon.

In the end, nature will make adjustments. We will then have to accept that we have created a new planet for ourselves, not the one on which human beings evolved.

The conclusions of climate scientists are not “myths” – they are rational theories based on evidence. Of course, they have to be modified as new evidence arises, but so far that process has made the initial conclusions seem too conservative.

A certain degree of “alarmism” about CO2 emissions is necessary, as it was in the case of lead, DDT, acid rain and CFCs. “Alarmists” have typically been shown to know what they are talking about, and vested interests trying to prevent any change to business as usual have only been shown to be greedy.

Christoffersen’s most valid point is that B.C. stands to suffer economically from measures to limit the continued exploitation and trade of natural resources. Can such measures lead B.C. instead towards a more sustainable economy?

This is where SFU professor Mark Jaccard comes in. Christoffersen dismisses Jaccard for no good reason, casting doubt on the value of his contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and questioning whether individual contributors to the Nobel Prize-winning organization deserve to be called Nobel laureates.

Yet, Jaccard’s expertise in environmental economics is obvious to anyone taking the time to consider his publications and presentations to government officials in the United States and Europe.

David Anson, White Rock