As was indicated in the Feb. 25 column from the Washington Post, "Very suspicious of a warm February," our climate is changing. The vast majority of climate scientists, almost all major scientific professional societies, and the national academies of science for the G7 countries all agree that indeed this in the case and that it is happening because of man.
One only has to pick up the newspapers and see stories of temperature records being broken across the world, one-in-a-hundred-year torrential rains hammering the West Coast, mountain glaciers disappearing in South America, etc. While any one of these events could be considered a statistical anomaly due to the normal short-term variability in climate, the occurrence of all these events in such a short time frame point to a very real change.
Unfortunately, scientists currently lack the detailed knowledge and models to accurately predict where our climate will be in 20 years or by the end of the century. While conservative scientists are only predicting a 2- to 3-degree Celsius rise in the global mean temperature by the end of the century, other less conservative scientists are suggesting much larger rises, based primarily on how the Earth's climate has responded in the past hundreds of millions of years to geologically sudden rises in greenhouse gas concentrations such we are seeing today. The crux of the matter is that no will know which group of scientists is right until after the fact.
Therefore, maybe it is time to seriously consider ideas such as the Climate Leadership Council proposal discussed in the Feb. 25 Dallas Morning News editorial, "Conservative group's carbon plan gives us hope for climate change action."
Thomas H. Pritchett
Department of Chemical & Physical Sciences
Cedar Crest College
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