Guest Opinion by Alan Journet in Salem Statesman Journal, Sunday March 1st
Several decades ago, I was teaching an ecology course when ecological theory and climate reality collided.
As I was discussing how temperature and precipitation determine the distribution of natural biological systems (forests, grasslands, deserts, etc.) across the planet, I realized that current climate projections would destroy these natural systems.
Questions and answer threads following appearance of this column:
I just finished reading your opinion piece in Sunday’s Statesman Journal newspaper.
We know that the earth’s climate is constantly changing and that there are many factors that influence this change that have nothing to do with the activities of mankind; such as … volcanic activity, variations in solar activity, naturally occurring wildfires and forest fires, natural climate cycles, variations in the earth’s polarity, perhaps even meteor activity, to name a few of the known factors.
With that in mind, there are questions that I have not been able to find the answers to. For example:
- What percentage of the change to the earth’s climate is due to man-made carbon emissions? Is it 50%? 10%? 1%? 0.01%?
- Is our current worldwide climate optimal?
- Is any change to our climate necessarily a bad thing?
- If any climate change is bad, and the earth were in a natural cooling cycle, should we try to increase carbon emissions, if we thought it could reverse the trend?
For over 20 years, I commuted to work 8 miles in each direction by bicycle.
25 years ago, my wife and I installed 5000 feet of underground tubing for our geothermal heat pump, and a little over 10 years ago we installed a 4-kilowatt system of photo-voltaic solar panels on our roof.
I tell you this to show our commitment to the environment.
However, I have serious doubts about mankind’s ability to significantly change the climate by controlling carbon emissions.
As a high school math teacher, I’m used to having numbers, figures and justification to answer student questions. But I’ve never seen answers to the four questions I raised; … and without science-based answers, it would seem difficult to logically justify “carbon emissions” legislation.
Response: Statesman Journal Query – Bruce Hansen