I was dismayed to read about Rep. Thompson’s politically correct statement that climate change might be dominantly caused by sunspots rather than by humans digging up and combusting fossil fuels that were deposited over millions of years.
The basic science is simple. Human-caused emissions of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases result in an increasingly effective insulating blanket. The insulating blanket traps infrared light that’s emitted back to space by the Earth’s surface. Heat accumulates so the temperature goes up.
Here’s an experiment that you could do at home. Let’s say your home is already comfortable in the winter but you add more insulation. If you keep the furnace on the same as before then the house gets way too hot. Obviously the goal is to use the furnace less, but sunlight keeps coming right through the greenhouse gases. We can’t cut back on the heat. Maybe you’d open a window but we can’t open a hole in our atmosphere. Pretty simple — the Earth gets hotter.
How much hotter? That’s what climate change deniers usually harp on. The models might not be spot on. But the fact is that we’re heating the Earth and the temperature’s going up.
I think that Rep. Thompson is intelligent and conscientious about representing his electorate. But he’s following political dogma in the case of climate change. His failure to acknowledge the consequences of human-caused climate change delays our ability to address this problem that will afflict our children, grandchildren and generations to come.