We have no time to waste in countering climate change

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Bob Gold of Mt. Lebanon ("Wrong on Climate," June 7 letters), in his response to a June 4 letter, offers a spirited defense of some in the scientific community who dispute the mainstream understanding of climate change. His premise seems laudable -- that those who present the "other side of the argument" deserve a fairer portrayal than is often given in the media. And that proposal would have had merit ... 25 years ago. That time, however, is long past. The denier contingent has had decades to validate its case and has been found wanting.

Consider: In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences (1 in 10 members is a Nobel Prize winner) issued a statement declaring that "the threat of climate change is real, and increasing."

In 2008 the CEOs of 80 global corporations released a report stating: "Climate change is a serious social and economic challenge. We do not have much time." The signatories include the CEOs of Shell, BP and DuPont.

This past May, Scientific American observed that, of 13,950 papers published on the subject of climate change, only 24 ran counter to the scientific consensus.

Most urgently, just weeks ago we passed the 400 ppm (parts per million ) mark of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for the first time in at least 800,000 and possibly 4 million years. Does that sound much like a normal climate fluctuation?

Fortunately, good science eventually drives out bad, and we've arrived at a point at which further denial becomes perversity. Carl Sagan famously said: "It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out."

Mr. Gold tells us he can "provide hundreds of peer-reviewed citations" to prove his point. I would settle for a tidy baker's dozen -- by fully accredited climatologists.

An Andrew Marvell poem contains the line "had we but world enough, and time." Well, we have little enough of the former -- Sagan's Pale Blue Dot -- and are quickly exhausting the latter.




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