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Climate´s competing camps

The Globe and Mail

Temperature changes over the past decade, as quoted from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report, need to be considered in context. On this time scale, stating that “for the first six months of 2010 … temperature was the warmest on record” is utterly meaningless.

Kenneth Grace, Innisfil, Ont.

This recent climate study tells us little that is new, but it does so with an authoritativeness that is impressive. More than ever, it is time to stop pitting dire warnings of climate Armageddon against economic meltdown. Instead, let’s take up the challenge of developing and implementing practical solutions to climate change, in a way that moves beyond the partisan differences that have stymied progress. Martin von Mirbach, acting director of Climate Change, World Wildlife Federation Canada I hope no one will think this new report silences us “deniers” (Signs Of Warming Earth ‘Unmistakable’ – July 29). What we deny is that reducing human carbon use will have a consequential effect (other than starving much of humanity). The positive feedback from frozen methane in the tundra and on the seafloor, carbon dioxide and methane from food production, and the lowering ability of the seas to absorb carbon dioxide make continued warming almost certain, regardless of our little contribution from fossil fuel use. Unless the sun or some other external factor intervenes, temperature will continue to rise. We had better concentrate our attention on adaptation and not put all our efforts to elimination (worthy as that may be).

Hugh Jones, P.Geol, Toronto

Your headlines (Signs Of Warming Earth ‘Unmistakable’; Different Birds, Different Spills Same PR Problem – July 29) vividly portray our addiction to fossil fuels. We are individually and collectively complicit and culpable in the unfolding tragedy of planetary degradation. Sadly, we have not yet bottomed out; it is nature that is doing that.

Hugh Robertson, Ottawa

In graphs, the lack of a vertical scale magnifies (or diminishes) the impact of data on a reader, while the absence of a horizontal time scale leads to false comparisons for different events over different time periods. Thus, for example, your front-page graph Air Temp covers 49 years (1960-2009) while the adjacent Ocean Temp graph covers 159 years (1850-2009).

Yes, the Earth is warming, as I and other geoscientists would readily agree, but as a result of natural cycles. A graph of the temperature record for the past 400,000 years (published in The Globe in 2007 with vertical and horizontal scales!) clearly illustrates the approximately 100,000-year periodicity of cooling and warming, the result of the interaction of a number of complex factors. That graph shows that the temperature today is, indeed, at a peak, but the same peak as 130,000 years ago, 240,000 years ago, 325,000 years ago and 410,000 years ago.

Even 159 years is but the blink of an eye in the Earth’s 4.6-billion-year history or, more realistically, in the approximately 600 million years that complex life has existed on the planet.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.


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