March 23: Letters to the editor

Climate change and science

This letter was written on an iMac; emailed to the Del Mar Times. These everyday tools are the product of scientific research. Our TV’s, our cars, our homes have all been enhanced through scientific discovery. Science grows, delivers, and allows us to enjoy food of infinite variety. Through science we have learned the miracles of life, medicine, health. Science has shown us our place in the solar system and in the Universe. The theories of science, the discoveries of science, and the applications of science surround us.

Now our science tells us that the one and only planet we have is experiencing more rapid and severe changes in its climate than in all of Earth’s history. It is certainly inconvenient, but science finds compelling evidence that our need for energy, particularly from fossil fuels, is a primary contributor to these changes to our planet. You can even deny the scientific evidence of cause; but to deny effect is to put your head in the ground. Our generation will not be able to arrest the climate changes ahead, but we need to make an effort now (though really we should have started 20 years ago). We have opportunities in solar energy, wind and others. We can conserve and recycle. These things are easy and save everybody money. I know we’re not going to stop driving, but we can get serious about electric cars. These efforts represent great opportunities for individuals, industry and business alike.

It is a fools errand to debate climate change. We are no longer in a “what-if” scenario. We are all leaving this planet one day. Our children and their children will inherit it. They will already be challenged to return the planet, the one we’re leaving them, to a long sustainable one. They will need the best efforts of science and scientists to find their solutions. In the meantime, we must allow our national policies on climate change to be guided by the same science that got us here. This in not a partisan issue; it affects all of us, Democrats, Republicans, Independents. There’s lots of room to debate the best path. I pray that our state and federal representatives look to the scientists for guidance. Scientific research with appropriate funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and even the Department of Defense will help us find solution. But we must get past debating reality. The one action we cannot afford is no action.

Matthew Perl, MD

Carmel Valley

Pall cast on free speech regarding climate change

As most probably know, legal action has been taken by several state attorneys’ general to subpoena records regarding the issue of climate change and causes. Such actions cast a pall on free speech, and this newspaper is to be thanked for its willingness to participate in a public discussion.

In a continuance of the discussion, I would offer Mr. Rabin that his citing of the often used “97% of active climate scientists agree…” is a discredited statistic (see: http://tinyurl.com/qjg5hf7). Once that idea is absorbed, however, the real crux of the issue is the poisonous atmosphere (no pun intended) that prevents the traditional productive discourse between researchers.

Unless researchers can postulate positions, solicit third party review, have strenuous and detailed analysis of each other’s raw data, challenge methodology, and engage in direct discourse of opposing ideas, then no confidence in any position can be seriously held. Unfortunately, I note that the current professional researcher role in resolving differences in understanding opposing positions is greatly inhibited. Professional growth, success in one’s chosen field, and perhaps simple employment in the profession, is apparently dependent to a large degree on holding a particular position that mankind is causing the climate to change in a harmful way. It seems that a few researchers, no longer concerned about “publish or perish” or a continued funding source, offer a moderating if not opposing view to the current drumbeat of man caused climate change and impending doom. See: http://tinyurl.com/zhof6od. A curious reader might also consider these video clips by a Nobel laureate in physics: http://tinyurl.com/gv8hwn8. Or: http://tinyurl.com/l5z3zc2. Several of the critical comments are based in mere data presentation (graphical axis scale distortion in one case), as an indication of the presenter’s goal of making a particular point, as opposed to letting the observer reach a data-driven conclusion. That is subterfuge at work in a technical discussion.

Bill Stoops

Solana Beach

There’s no denying climate change

Former Vice President Al Gore and his team just completed training almost 1,000 participants through his Climate Reality Project Leadership program in Denver early this month. He was joined by prominent scientists in giving very compelling presentations of the facts as they relate to climate change. I am one of the fortunate to have received this training.

8 billion tons of carbon emissions from fossil fuels have been released into the atmosphere since the mid- 1950s. Less than 2 billion tons per year were being released before that time. “Extreme” temperature events, which used to cover 0.1 percent of the earth now cover 14.5 percent. This corresponds with the dramatic increase in carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

2016 was the 40th consecutive year with global temperatures above 20th century averages. Jos Lelieveld, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, says, “In the future the climate in large areas of the Middle East and North Africa could render some regions UNINHABITABLE…”

Global ocean heat content has also risen dramatically along with the increase in carbon emissions. Extreme weather catastrophes in recent years have mirrored these increases as well.

Global emissions have remained flat for three years in a row. Wind and solar power have been embraced as costs have come down dramatically. Many coal plants in the U.S. have been retired.

Naysayers, rest assured that the facts are what matter. Finally, I believe that there is hope that with the adoption of clean energy solutions we can make a difference. Please ask your local, state and federal representatives to fight for clean energy and support climate action plans.

Dr. Udo Wahn

Climate Reality Project Leader

Where was Issa?

On Sunday evening March 5, I attended the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) community briefing on anti-Semitism and security at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in La Jolla - the site of four bomb threats this past month. Over 500 people braved the heavy rain and showed up - including Congresswoman Susan Davis and staffers from the district offices of Congressman Scott Peters and Senator Dianne Feinstein. I deeply appreciate the participation of these elected officials and the support they demonstrated for the local Jewish community.

Congressman Darrell Issa failed to attend - nor did he send anyone to represent him. ADL staff informed me that Issa’s office received an invitation but never responded. This is inexcusable. The JCC borders Issa’s district. His constituents send their children to preschool there. Many of us use the JCC’s athletic facilities and participate in its varied cultural programming. Issa should’ve sent someone to this apolitical forum dealing with an urgent community need. How will he learn about our concerns if he fails to monitor these crucial events?

Sharon Rosen Leib

Solana Beach

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