Science: Global Emissions Causing ‘Imminent Crisis’

Oct. 2, 2019 Editor, The News-Gazette:

Halt global warming?

Republican treasury secretaries, presidential economic advisers, and business executives, think we should. They suggest an escalating carbon tax, returning revenue to each American citizen as a monthly dividend.

Currently the average global temperature is 1.8° F (1° C) above that of preindustrial times, and rising. The Sept. 20 issue of Science reports that halting warming at 2.7° F (1.5° C) above the preindustrial level may yield a financial benefit four to five times greater than the cost.

Climate change occurred many times naturally over hundreds of millions of years driving many species to extinction or migration. Since Homo sapiens has only existed on earth for 200,000 years, we neither caused, nor had to contend with earlier changes (except one glacial advance). Five pre-human climate changes resulted in mass species extinctions.

Current warming is faster than previous events, closely correlating with rising levels of heat-trapping CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide produced by human activities. The National Academy of Sciences, including America’s 2200 top research scientists, supports this claim.

Virginia averages five days per year with a heat index above 100 F. If human activities generating heat-trapping gases continue, that number will increase to 33 days by midcentury, and 60 days by 2100.

If we do not cut heat-trapping gas emissions, the continuing rise in global temperature will threaten human safety through sea-level rise, more intense storms and forest fires, reduction of arable land, lower crop productivity, and in some places unsupportable heat-stress and water scarcity that will limit the existence of humans and other species.

Current science concludes that global emissions of heat-trapping gases constitute an imminent crisis requiring immediate international cooperation to curtail use of fossil fuels, modify agricultural, dietary, and land-use practices, and capture CO2 during cement production while reducing cement use.

JOHN S. KNOX

Lexington

The News-Gazette

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