Letter to the Editor

Is global warming real?

To the editor: If your are unsure about the threat of global warming and what it means, use your browser to search for these phrases for the most reliable information on this topic: “American Academy of Sciences position on global warming” and the “Royal Society position on global warming.” The AAS and the Royal Society are two of the most prestigious scientific institutions in the world. If you believe in the efforts of science, searching these two organizations will give you what you need to know about this issue. You will learn not only that global warming is real but also that it has been predicted for over a hundred years. In the past decades, the scientific evidence has become ever more clear. Our global society has serious decisions to make in order to limit temperature increases for future generations so they are able to survive a warming planet.

Even radically reducing greenhouse gases will not return us to the status quo. The tipping point being mentioned in about 15 years is the point where it will be extremely difficult to limit warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade above preindustrial temperatures. There are two major feedback systems that pose a problem. Snow and ice have a high albedo, meaning they reflect a significant amount of incident solar radiation back into space. Less snow and ice means more solar energy to warm Earth. Another major feedback is that melting permafrost releases huge reserves of methane gas, which is a much more effective greenhouse gas than CO2, further increasing global warming. Both suggest a likely runaway warming scenario.

The above internet sites will give you reliable, unbiased information and what can be expected if we do nothing or if we do our best to reduce greenhouse gases. If this issue had been taken seriously decades ago, the future outcome would be very different from what we face today. At this point the best we can hope for is to slow the increase in global temperatures to a level that future generations can tolerate, but they will still need to make significant changes in how they live.

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