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Debate on climate change has shifted

Monday, June 2, 2014
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Debate on climate change has shifted

"Climate does allow for debate" is the headline of Mr. Paul Stambach's May 28 opinion piece regarding comments made on Amy Ridenour's "debate" published in the May 18 Gazette.

I agree with one point made by Mr. Stambach -- climate change does allow for debate, but not in the way he suggests.

We are not debating whether or not climate change is occurring. Any one can see temperature has sharply risen since the 1800s and that sea level has risen over the same time period by visiting NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) or NASA websites. It is very clear.

Instead, the debate is centered on how much change will occur in the future. Some "debates" are: Will sea level rise by 8 inches or 80 inches? Not if it will rise. Will temperature rise by 2 degrees F or 10 degrees F? Not will it rise. "Climate change" -- driven mostly by our consumption of fossil fuels and their CO2 (carbon dioxide) by-product is also leading to ocean acidification, which is also easy to understand for anyone who has had high school chemistry, and is a reason we have abandoned the term "global warming" for "global change."

There is no debate this is happening or that we are to blame -- the major scientific societies with thousands of members, such as the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Meteorological Society, American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, and many, many other scientific societies have clear statements on anthropogenic climate change, all stating similar things: Human activities are changing Earth's climate.

There is no debate that human-induced climate change is occurring. The second debate, which is ongoing, is what should we do about this pending problem that will disrupt society and our economy on all levels. Even a 2-degree F temperature change can wreak havoc on society.

Would you carry an umbrella if there were a chance of rain?

David Gillikin

West Glenville

The writer is an assistant professor of geology.

Need more coverage of women's softball

I have been a fan of women's college softball for years. The championship games are televised and great to watch. Jennie Finch is a famous college softball pitcher who struck out major league baseball players.

I am disappointed there is no coverage in The Gazette. There is men's college baseball and men's and women's lacrosse, but no women's softball.

Geraldine Havasy

Clifton Park

Question sources on climate change

In looking for scientific support for denial of human-caused climate change, May 28 letter writer Paul Stambach pats himself on the back for easily stumbling onto the words of kindred spirit Lennart Bengtsson of the "Max Planck Institute for Meteorology."

Seeing this, it struck me as odd that an institute devoted to the weather would be named after a famous quantum physicist who had no involvement with the earth sciences. So I checked the website of the "Institute" to learn more.

Besides a number of typographical errors on the website, I quickly found that whatever its origins, "Max Planck Institute" has become something of a brand name for a think-tank franchise covering everything from psychiatry to tax law.

The "Meteorology" branch does not enroll students and it conducts very little first-hand research. What it does do is produce lots of modeling simulations, all of which appear designed to bolster the claim that even if climate change may be happening, it's produced by everything except human activity, so we don't need to change anything we're doing.

This is, of course, completely contrary to what you'll find from researchers at Union College, UAlbany and plenty of other places of higher learning.

Does this mean that every single scientist agrees that human activity is changing the climate? No, there are some who still don't. But anyone who feels their own position strengthened by that slim fact should bear in mind that in the 1960s, there were scientists testifying to Congress that lead from automobile exhaust was harmless, despite decades of evidence that it was poisoning the entire planet.

Back then, you could have chosen to agree with the lead-poisoning deniers, just as today you can choose to agree with global-warming deniers. But if you do, you should no longer let the loudness of just a few voices fool you into believing that you have lots of good company.

Daniel Hill

Scotia

No need to drive far for local bookstore

Ed Reilly, Jr., in his May 25 Viewpoint column, lamented the closing of Barnes & Noble at Mohawk Commons. Mr. Reilly commented that he would have to drive to Albany, Malta or to Saratoga's new bookstore. Honestly!

Isn't Mr. Reilly aware that Schenectady has its own very fine bookstore on Jay Street -- The Open Door. Not a chain, but locally owned.

He should investigate this treasure, and maybe realize that he doesn't have to drive 15 or more miles. Maybe only three or four.

Mary Siegel

Schenectady

Thanks to Channel 10 for tornado alert

Thanks to Channel 10 for the good coverage of the EF3-rated tornado [May 24 Gazette].

Because of the station's efforts, we listened to their advice and went to the safest place in our home. We had no damage but we have a greater respect for heeding weather warnings.

This weather event came pretty close to us.

Peg Lapo

Delanson

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