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Water, sewer departments deserve thanks

Saturday, April 5, 2014
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Water, sewer departments deserve thanks

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank several employees of the city of Schenectady water and sewer departments.

Recently, I had an issue with water all over my dirt basement. After a local plumber couldn’t determine the source of the problem, I contacted the water department, then the sewer department. All calls were responded to in under 30 minutes. The issue itself was resolved with professionalism and efficiency.

I would like to personally thank John of the water department, Roberto of the sewer department, Bob the supervisor, and Phyllis and Teresa in the office for all the help, respect and hard work.

As a resident of Schenectady, I was happy to see the problem handled so well. Hats off to these city employees.

Donna Wojcik

Schenectady

Humans are not to blame for climate change

A writer Heather Leibowitz stated in a March 24 letter that we can win the fight against global warming. She states that various governmental policies are reducing carbon emissions and calls for more costly regulations. Many people, like the writer, firmly believe that human activities are causing the atmosphere to heat up, resulting in increased frequencies of destructive storms. Global warming melts the polar ice and glaciers which contains two-thirds of the world’s fresh water supply resulting in a rising sea level, and threatens all low lying lands.

The focus on global warming is carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activities. I find it curious that proponents of such beliefs simply ignore dozens of other factors that have great impact on climate change. The reason being is that CO2 production is the only factor affecting atmospheric temperatures of for which human activities have an impact.

Proponents repeatedly point out that atmospheric concentration of CO2 has increased 25 percent or more in the last century and must be reduced in order to “save the planet.” The public has been bombarded with this message over the years to the point where we are told that CO2 emissions raising the atmospheric temperature is “established scientific fact.” Such a statement is designed to quash dissent and embrace expensive governmental policies. Nevermind the staggering costs attempting to achieve such a goal, or the cost to the consuming public. Worse, nevermind the thinking that that CO2 emission have little to do with climate change.

These believers insist that as the CO2 atmospheric component approaches 400 parts per million (ppm) there will be catastrophic consequences. Being a retired simple engineer, I find it hard to believe that an atmospheric gas that represents only 0.04 of 1 percent can have such a fearful impact on the word climate.

Be that as it may, I believe it is important to better understand climate change by briefly reviewing a little geologic history. Climate change has occurred from geologic time to the present in cycles. For example, a geologic scientist can make the case that we are experiencing an interglacial warming period in a very cold geologic epic beginning 1.8 million years ago. We know that there have been four “ice ages,” each lasting hundreds of thousands of years during this epic. Each glacial advance was separated by an 8,000- to 10,000-year interglacial warming period when the sea levels rose a few hundred feet. Are we at the end of an interglacial cycle? We do not know.

In addition, there are world atmospheric changes within the current interglacial cycle that have nothing to do with human activity. For example, a millennia ago the world was warmer. Danish explorers colonized a new land that they called Greenland. Then a mini cold spell occurred and Greenland became too cold to support the colony and it died out. This mini “ice age” lasted for three to four centuries ending near the end of the 18th century.

Glaciers have been in retreat and the oceans slowly have risen over the last 200 years following that cycle of cold. What caused this cycle of atmospheric change? We do not know, but we can confidently conclude that it was not from human activity and the production of CO2 emission.

Furthermore, even within this short period of 200 years, there are global temperature cycles that have little or nothing to do with human activity. A steep rise in world temperature occurred between 1910 and 1940, when the CO2 component was slightly above a long-term average of 280 to 300 ppm. That temperature rise was followed by a 35-year cooling period while the CO2 concentrations increased! Following that cooling period, another rise in atmospheric temperature occurred, which triggered the reaction demanding control of CO2 emissions. Interestingly, atmospheric temperatures have declined in the last 15 years.

The purpose of this presentation is to summarize the cyclic nature of atmospheric temperatures. We do not understand Earth energy dynamics. We do accept that the Earth's land masses “float” on a nearly 8,000-mile diameter sphere of very hot semi-fluid rock and minerals. Periodically, we observe enormous energy releases through volcanoes and earthquakes that have nothing to do with atmospheric components. Why do we continue to focus on CO2 emissions as the only factor affecting climate change?

I do not expect to change the believers' mindset concerning this subject. I simply wish to present the concept of cyclic atmospheric changes, not CO2 emissions, drives climate change. The conservation of resources and environmental production of goods and services is necessary, but efforts singularly focused on changing atmospheric temperatures are misdirected and will have little or no effect on the climate.

Russ Wege

Glenville

 

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