Today’s Washington Post editorial page included a letter from George F. Steeg of Potomac Falls. In his letter, Mr. Steeg presents several points which he feels bring into question the validity of climate change science and the causes of climate change. It’s surprising that the W. Post chose to run this letter, because many of Mr. Steeg’s arguments are the same old stuff brought up time and time again. But for those who need a refresher on the topic, let’s go through a few of the arguments:
- Mr. Steeg states, “atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have exceeded current levels multiple times in the life of Earth, and the planet has recovered.” Right you are, Mr. Steeg! But here’s what you left out – each of these carbon levels was followed by a mass extinction of species on the planet, and although the planet did recover, it always took several million years.
- Mr. Steeg states, “Correlating climate change only with carbon dioxide concentrations ignores variations in sun intensity and Earth’s orbital dynamics.” The correlation actually doesn’t ignore sun intensity, etc. Scientists have checked into the sunspot hypothesis and others, and the evidence seems to overwhelmingly point back at greenhouse gases coming from man-made sources.
- Mr. Steeg states, “Some scientists argue that changes in Earth’s climate occur every 1,500 years and conclude that the cycles are unstoppable by human intervention.” Really? How many scientists make this statement? The current changes are not part of a cycle. They’ve occurred over approximately 100-150 years and they’re happening faster than species can adapt.
I know climate change is scary, but burying our heads in the sand is not the way to address the issue. As generations before have done when confronted with daunting challenges, we must look the challenge of climate change in the eye and find a solution.