Letter: Humans are definitely a cause of global warming


I was disappointed to read Tugg Thompson’s dangerously misinformed letter last weekend, “Humans aren’t responsible…” 8/17.

The Whidbey News-Times should include some kind of editorial note to readers when a writer’s falsehoods exceed a certain threshold of irresponsibility, as this letter did.

Mr. Thompson’s letter blunders on a basic property of water which I expect every high school chemistry student to know, which is that even though it expands during freezing, a given volume of water also expands as it warms above 4 degrees Celsius.

This fact carries tremendous consequences for coastal communities, because as greenhouse gases accumulate and warm our planet, oceans are expanding beyond historical shorelines.

This is causing an expensive mess in communities such as Miami Beach, which just spent $400 million building limited sea defenses and Newtok, Alaska, which is using federal funding to abandon its location altogether.

The U.S. Navy has been adapting to sea level rise for a decade, as its Virginia Naval complex is already suffering sunny-day flooding, in part from climate change-induced sea level rise. Every community that loves its sea-level Navy base should be talking about this.

There are always outlier opinions in science; people should listen but usually reject these.

There’s no space here to evaluate Mr. Thompson’s other technical claims, but readers should realize that the people he quoted were unpersuasive to their own peers, and that the objections he lists have been examined and rejected.

Mr. Thompson’s letter is dangerous because it confuses our community on what the science long ago came to agree: climate change is here, it’s bad, it’s caused by us, and that we should change our laws sharply to prevent more of it.

Fortunately, Washington, D.C. has lately become something of a boiling pot of discussion about climate solutions, with even some Republicans advancing ideas.

The best solutions move us rapidly away from fossil fuels while protecting our economy, and are large enough to honor the daunting breadth of the problem.

The U.S. House is considering the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, a proposal with bipartisan support, and which we have discussed with Congressman Rick Larsen.

Find details at energyinnovationact.org. Please give scientists some credit for their many decades of careful work and join the fight for solutions.

Bob Hallahan

Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Whidbey Island

Oak Harbor

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