Union Democrat staff

Opinion shouldn't trump facts

To the Editor:

A letter to the editor with the title "Climate change: Politics vs. science" (Sept. 17) started with a disclaimer about 2012 being the hottest year ever. It used NOAA as its source. I googled "NOAA and global warming" to check.

The first reference confirmed that 2012 was the hottest year on record for the entire U.S.It also was the eighth or ninth hottest year on record for the entire world. NOAA data confirms that global temperatures are increasing about 0.25 degrees every decade. Sea level is rising. The ocean is getting warmer. Anyone willing to do a fact check of everything in this letter would confirm that none of it agrees with science. Based on the title, I guess it's all politics.

The great majority of climate scientists agree that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. That means that it allows the energy of the sun, which is at visible wavelengths, to pass as it approaches the earth, but it does not allow the energy that is reradiated from the earth to escape because it is at infrared wavelengths. This trapped energy is causing global warming. Before the industrial revolution, CO2 had been reasonably stable at about 250 ppm for 800,000 years (based on ice core records). In the last 150 years, it has been going up at an ever increasing rate. This past year, it hit 400 ppm. Burning hydrocarbons produces CO2. Since forests store CO2, deforestation increases CO2. These are man-made effects.

Patrick Moynahan stated that everyone has a right to his own opinion, but he doesn't have a right to his own facts. Thanks to the Internet, anyone can easily determine what is fact (science) and what is opinion (politics?).

Bob Gould