To the editor:
In response to your Friday editorial, “If we seek to limit CO2, why not water?”: It’s evident that your scientific experience is lacking.
Water is a greenhouse gas, but it’s a liquid or solid at Earth’s surface temperatures.
Some of it evaporates, but an equivalent quantity returns to Earth so the net contribution to global warming is nil.
Man is responsible for sending about 60 trillion pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere annually (about 130 times that of volcanoes), but Earth reabsorbs only 20 trillion pounds of CO2 annually.
This means that the annual increase of CO2 in our atmosphere is about 40 trillion pounds. This is verified by the fact that CO2 in the atmosphere is currently 100 ppm higher that the highest previous peak measured in 850,000 years of ancient ice.
Your statement that most of the CO2 is naturally occurring is misleading, because man is responsible for nearly all of the increase in CO2 when compared with natural cycles. It’s that increase that’s caused the global climate to go out of balance. As long as man puts three times the CO2 into the atmosphere than is reabsorbed by Earth the greenhouse gas concentration will increase.
More water evaporates at higher temperatures. There’s been a corresponding 7 percent rise in rainfall in the United States over the past 100 years. The upper Midwest has seen a 50 percent rise in storms that produced more than 4 inches of precipitation. A MIT study of global storms, including Gulf state hurricanes, showed their power has nearly doubled in 100 years.
This is a fraction of the climate change evidence agreed upon by every major national science academy in the world. Your editorial cites no scientific organization.
The rapidity of this climate change is fast compared with previous cycles (except for catastrophic events such as large asteroid impacts). Evolutionary processes are slow and will have difficulty keeping up with this rapid change. Man will, too.
So I — like the vast majority of scientists — think it’s prudent to take measures to fix this problem.
To the editor:
Your Friday editorial on the EPA limiting carbon dioxide emissions left out a very interesting and important fact that I believe the public needs to know in formulating an opinion on whether mankind is playing a key role in changing the atmosphere.
What percentage of the atmosphere is CO2? I have asked many people, and their guesses range from 5 percent to 20 percent no matter what their opinions are on global warming.
The answer is 0.0384 percent. And, as you point out, human activity is responsible for only 5 percent of the CO2 in the air. That’s 0.00192 percent of the atmosphere.
Arguing that human-produced carbon dioxide is causing global warming is like saying smoke causes fire, instead of the other way around.
Also, it’s worth discussing what global cooling will mean to civilization when it returns, as it surely will. You know, snow all winter in Las Vegas and glaciers a mile thick creeping down from Canada and forming in the Rockies. Now that will be a problem.
Bridge too far
To the editor:
While it is aesthetically pleasing and architecturally interesting, the existence of the Hoover Dam bypass bridge is puzzling. Alleviating and expediting traffic over and around the dam is ostensibly convenient, but the pretenses justifying this ridiculously expensive project are another example of the Bush administration playing on people’s fears to complete otherwise unnecessary projects.
The big crisis was supposed to be that someone would drive a truck bomb over the dam and blow it up. That dam is at least 30 feet wide at the top and several hundred feet wide at the bottom, and solid concrete. There is no way anyone was going to do significant damage to the dam.
Considering the water level on the lake it is not likely there would be a threat of a flood. A large truck full of explosives in Oklahoma City initially brought down about a quarter of the federal building there, which was mostly hollow.
Granted, traffic would be interrupted if there were an explosion on top of the dam, but there is always the Laughlin route.
And who is the genius who looked at this huge bridge design and did not think that the bridge itself would be a prime target for a terrorist attack, that the terrorist wouldn’t pick a precarious structure over a massively solid, unmovable object?
It will have taken nearly 10 years to complete and, with jobs for the Homeland Security people at issue, we will surely have to continue to endure the delays caused by the guys in funny hats shining their flashlights on our kids’ Happy Meals every time we travel.
The bypass bridge is spectacular. I enjoy watching its progress, but it is far from making us safe and secure.