Letter: Misleading assertions on climate change
Re “Evidence of climate change never more compelling” (Monitor letter, Jan. 20):
Shannon E. Mills is right to take columnist Bob Washburn to task for his simplistic assertions about climate. However, her explanation of Washburn’s mistakes are in themselves misleading.
Mills writes, “The scientific evidence for climate change has never been more compelling.” True, but so what? The only constant about climate is change. It changes all the time. Next she writes, “Scientists agree that the global climate is warming and that it is associated with increases in carbon dioxide generated by human activity.”
The 1.4-degree warming of the past century has probably been caused to some extent by human-generated CO2. But how much of the temperature rise is human-caused and how much is natural is unknown. Even more uncertain is the future effect of continuing CO2 rise. The confidence expressed by Mills that recent extreme cold is a consequence of global warming is also unjustified.
A similar weather phenomenon occurred in December 1962 when Miami experienced 10-degree weather while global cooling was under way.
Mills encourages readers to draw their own conclusions about climate change based on science. Good idea. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted in 2007 that the effect of global warming is “a decline in the frequency of cold air outbreaks in Northern Hemisphere winter in most areas,” the opposite of Mills’s claims.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
(The writer is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition.)