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Thread: Letter to the Editor re climate change

  1. #1 Letter to the Editor re climate change 
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    This letter appeared today in the Denver Post. I am inclined to write a response pointing out at least two errors: 1) It is false that climate scientists never discuss the warmer temperatures during the "age of dinosaurs"; and 2) It is however largely irrelevant to the climate of today. I could go on to ridicule the writer's conspiracy theory, but that might be too much.

    Since I am not an expert on climate I am asking for suggestions as to how to phrase the technical part of my response in order to avoid mistakes. On the other hand, some one might want to submit his or her own response to the Post, which would be great.

    Climate science is not yet settled | eLetters


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  3. #2  
    Time Lord
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    The writer neglects to note that the carbon that was sequestered when all those dinosaurs (and the dense vegetation that had been feeding them) died was probably responsible for the warmer temperatures. Carbon we are now releasing again. He also neglected to note that the world those dinosaurs lived in would probably not be hospitable for us humans now.

    If anything his point confirms that of climate change advocates. More CO2 in the air means more heat.


    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  4. #3  
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    Past climates are extensively modeled using global circulation models (GCMs) based on continental configuration, the lower solar input but higher Co2 concentrations (due to more Co2 recycling from volcanism). It's essentially a different planet. I don't think we know the astronomical forcing such as tilt, eccentricity of the orbit etc going back that far--so its assumed to be similar to today. Despite these uncertainties, the models do pretty well, and generally match the low resolution proxy climate record.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge1907 View Post
    Why would you respond? Let someone who knows the subject clairfy the matter - or not . It's just a letter to the edtior and very unlikely to change anyone's opinion.
    Many people read comments and letters to the editor and shape their opinions based on them. You might no change the editors opinion, but you might give another reader something to reconsider.

    Evolution is a theory not a fact.
    In laymen s terms, such as a this newspaper, theories are facts.
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  6. #5  
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    Newspapers,

    apparently deciding that imitations of the lucrative TV and radio infotainment services, combined with the avoidance of production costs such as "editing" and "research" and the internet's consumer-friendly reification of existing opinion, is the business model of the future,

    seem to have adopted a policy of always balancing the presentation of reality based information and realistic description of event with bs from some ginned up "other side" created to match various existing ignorance and opinions of its desired customer base. Fair and balanced, see.

    The key in the culture wars is repetition, which means getting your central assertion printed. Your argument, etc, is irrelevant unless you get a column or more (are you funded by the Heritage Foundation or its ilk, represent a church, have major corporate support, are a former liberal who's seen the light, or similar? If not, you won't) - most papers will cut out key parts and make gibberish of it anyway (and then use the space saved for a picture of a dinosaur). Keep it short, make an assertion directly, don't qualify for precision or to avoid exaggerated implications. If you can swing in a supporting image without a comma, that might fly ("the last time the CO2 was high the warming flooded most of Florida").
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  7. #6  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Thanks to all for suggestions and advice. Here's what I wrote. I'll let you know if it gets printed.

    P. Scott Williams astutely points out that there weren’t any humans burning fossil fuels during the periods when dinosaurs roamed the planet. He neglects to mention that there were volcanoes spewing massive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and that the warm climate during the Cretaceous was a result of the greenhouse effect caused by this geological event. No humans necessary. Dinosaurs thrived in a hotter climate because they were adapted over many millennia to those conditions.

    Today volcanism is a minor contributor to atmospheric carbon dioxide – about 1% of the amount contributed by fossil fuel burning. We are concerned, or should be, not about the geological timescale of natural events, but with the rapid warming that scientists have linked to human activities – a link that is disputed only by a very small minority of serious scientists. We should be concerned that 6 billion humans are living on a rapidly warming planet, and many of them are marginally surviving. Unlike the dinosaurs we do not have thousands of years to adapt.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    By the way, here's a really outstanding lecture I found. It's about an hour long and I've only so far watched half of it, but it's the clearest explanation of the role of CO2 over the history of the planet that I've ever seen. I highly recommend it.

    A23A
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  9. #8  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    My letter will be in tomorrow's Post. Here's the electronic version, already with one incomprehensible response.

    The link between humans and climate change | eLetters
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  10. #9  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Great! I already added a comment as well.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
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  11. #10  
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    TSF flash mob! j/k

    Think I'll write something up today as well.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    Original letter has at least SOME truth in that domestic security and individual liberty have changed much since infamous events of September, 2001. What is OPTIMUM CO2 level and/or temperature, why, and can these levels be achieved using current technology while improving global standard of living, possibly with Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors?

    Looking forward as always to responses, dotcomrades!
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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  13. #12  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    evolution discussion moved to biology, as requested
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  14. #13  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Mr. Prince, I doubt if anyone would deny that “domestic security and individual liberty have changed much since infamous events of September, 2001,” but since this was not the point the writer was making your mentioning it is irrelevant. The letter writer’s point was that he believes the changes were part of a government conspiracy to impoverish people to increase control, and that this should be obvious. The man is clearly off his rocker, which is a common trait among climate science deniers.

    My response letter now has prompted a discussion in the blog, currently at 30 response, including some of our folks here – good job guys. But the same old canards crop up again from the ant-science side. How long does ignorance like this take to dissipate?
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  15. #14  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Usually dissipation happens as the generation ages and dies, sadly
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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