Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: Seeking data on fossil fuels

Doug Keith (CDT, March 12) writes that calculations of the global effects of fossil fuels on CO2 and heating of Earth’s air are “straightforward.” Professors Kasting, Keller, Evans and Kump (CDT, March 24) write that “the most recent Ice Age that brought glaciers to North America was driven by ... various feedback mechanisms, including 30 percent lower CO2 compared to the preindustrial Earth” and further state: “climate does vary naturally (yet) our actions can still cause (climate change) on top of this natural variability. Fortunately, we have the ability to make creative and positive decisions to change that future.”

My question is this: If and when Earth experiences a next transition to global cooling at, say, a similar slope to perceived current global warming, what quantitative amount of fossil fuels would humans need to burn to offset such cooling? From a practical standpoint, does Earth have enough coal in the ground to save the human race from destruction over, say, 500 years?

R.L. Horst