Letters to the Editor

A disservice to science, society

In the Feb. 7 CDT, William Happer, a distinguished physicist, now retired from Princeton University, argued against the human contribution to climate change. Unfortunately, he had a couple of serious errors in his write-up.

First, he states “the very minor warming in the past few centuries is mostly from non-human causes.” In fact, climate scientists at Penn State and elsewhere have studied the non-human causes related to recent warming in great detail and they cannot account for more than a fraction of the temperature increase. Only by allowing for human cause can you explain the actual data.

Second, Happer claims later in the article that there has been an extended “hiatus” in warming since about the year 2000. This is patently false. Several of these years are the hottest years on record since human beings began recording the earth’s temperature.

Moreover, he completely ignores the rate of change of CO2 in the atmosphere, which is dramatically different and much faster than previous heating of the planet from non-human causes.

By completely dismissing all of the critical evidence that clearly points to human-caused climate change, and calling it “religious dogma disguised as science,” Happer does himself, science and society a great disservice.

Edward H. Klevans,

State College

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