Letter to the editor | Climate change a threat

June 12, 2014 

I strongly agree with the editorial, “ Emissions rules long overdue,” (June 10) about fighting global warming. For more than a century, the heat-trapping properties of atmospheric carbon dioxide have been recognized by chemists. Observations made at Mauna Loa and other observatories consistently show the atmosphere’s concentration of CO2 has been rising each year and recently surpassed 400 parts per million. Research on air bubbles trapped in polar ice over the centur-ies, then drilled out by scientists, suggests natural cycles have caused CO2 levels to fluctuate between 180 and about 300 parts per million, often around 200. In the past half-million years, there’s no sign it approached where it is now.

Last year, I had the opportunity to visit a rural village in Kenya. The people were very friendly, but I felt sad for them. They are small farmers, and their land may become harder to live on if changes continue as atmospheric models predict.

Some commentators say it’s arrogant to believe humans can change the planet’s temperature, because nature is more powerful than us. However, I think it’s arrogant to believe that we can pollute in vast quantities and expect our actions will have no consequences. Requiring power plants to be run more cleanly, to release less CO2, is a reasonable step toward keeping future generations of people, farms and wildlife safe from harmful climate changes.

John Dziak

State College

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