To the Editor:

I agree with Gordon Kelly’s March 28 and June 8 letters, about the importance of climate change issues, especially for our children and grandchildren. I also support his encouraging us to “look deeper, more scientifically.” Carolyn Richards on April 20 reinforces Kelly, closing with “... climate change has always been with us, and the climate will always be warming or cooling.”

Unfortunately, both authors appear to neglect that advice to “look deeper, more scientifically". Together, they mention about 40 topics, each of which is legitimate, and deserves discussion. However, none of those topics contradict the scientific consensus about climate: greenhouse gasses are like a blanket on Earth; the buildup over the last 150 years, from burning fossil fuels, is warming Earth; this warming leads to many changes in Earth’s climate; these changes are on track to cause catastrophic consequences for life as we know it; we are making some progress, but the window for dealing with it is closing fast.

Internet searches can turn up websites that support any point of view, no matter how outrageous. Mr Kelly refers to the 1998 “Oregon Petition”, supposedly signed by over 31,000 scientists rejecting an early proposal for combating global warming. Please consult the Snopes “urban legends” website, which says “The petition was created by individuals and groups with political motivations, was distributed using misleading tactics, (and) is presented with almost no accountability regarding the authenticity of its signatures”.

Academies of Science and other scientific bodies, of basically every country in the world, acknowledge global warming and the human contribution to it. They are not expressing belief, but rather accepting the overwhelming evidence.

Critical thinking is vital, and one of the most important things to do is “follow the money”. Lawyers ask “Cui bono?” In English, “Who benefits?” A tobacco company vice-president famously said in a secret 1969 memo “Doubt is our product.” Similarly, doubt is the product of the fossil fuel industry, which desperately wants the public to question the science.

Yes, carbon dioxide is essential to life on Earth; the issues are how much, and how fast it is changing. Our current CO2 level is the highest in 400,000 years. The current rate of release is the fastest in 66 million years, when an asteroid strike led to a mass extinction.

Earth itself will be OK, even with the climate catastrophes we are approaching. Our kids and grandkids? Not necessarily.

Barry Brunson

Cle Elum


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