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home : opinions : letters May 24, 2016

4/28/2014 2:07:00 PM
Letter: It's up to you to write the ending


I read with interest Mr. Arden Druce's Letter to the Editor printed April 2, 2014, and for a brief moment thought we had some common ground. We seem to agree that weather patterns have changed dramatically over the last decade or so with out-of-season tornadoes, intense hurricanes, massive flooding, extreme warming and freezing temperatures, and melting ice caps.

Like Mr. Druce, I am very concerned by these weather events, and believe it is our responsibility as a nation to address this this issue head on. In order to raise awareness as a prelude to action, it is important to understand how and why these extreme weather events are occurring, and then we can work together to confront what is an urgent global problem.

However, unlike Mr. Druce, instead of getting my information from a letter published in The American Free Press, I find the scientific findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (www.ipcc.ch) to more accurately reflect what is happening in the real world.

The consequences of global climate change may be horrendous to contemplate, but this is not the result of "experiments underway to modify the weather and turn it into a weapon of war." No, it is the result of economic and personal choices all of us have made for decades.

"We have met the enemy, and he is us," as Pogo would say. But the good news is that we can change the way we create and consume goods in this material world, and demand that corporations and governments address global climate change with the urgency in requires. Boycott the corporations and vote out the politicians who refuse to act now.

As Mr. Druce said, "It's up to you to write the ending."

Michael Durgain


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, May 11, 2014
Article comment by: Plant food

Nearly half the population of Earth would suffer malnutrition or starvation if not for the application of synthetic fertilizer made from atmospheric nitrogen plus natural gas or coal.

Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Article comment by: nutso fasst

Peter, YC: "...the human species has flourished since the last ice age ended…"

The Roman and Medieval Warm Periods were as warm or warmer than today. Agricultural yields were high and population surged. Overland trade through ice-free mountain passes flourished.

When the Medieval Warm Period gave way to the Little Ice Age around 1300, temperatures dropped and glaciers grew. Agricultural production plummeted, causing food shortages that resulted in malnutrition and weakened immune systems. People spent more time in confined spaces to keep warm. Rickets was rampant. The Black Plague, coupled with increased violence, reduced the population of Europe by 30-60%.

Horrible though the plague was, reduced population pressure gave us the Age of Enlightenment.

Would it be wise to transition away from accelerated burning of fossil fuels to supply burgeoning energy demands? I believe so. But environmentally-destructive policies based on fear-mongering speculation that enrich a few influential speculators is not the way to go.

Re "Beijing smog:" According to the International Atomic Energy Association, the 28 nuclear reactors currently under construction in China will generate 27.7 GW of electricity. Meanwhile, however, an additional 160 coal-fired plants are expected to come on line during the next 4 years.

Posted: Sunday, May 4, 2014
Article comment by: Wacka Wacka

@nutso fasst

Sooooo ... plant food is good for you, right?

Major plant foods (outside CO2) are Nitrate, Phosphate and Potassium.

You think a diet of Nitrate and Phosphate would be good for you?

Hows this .. fill a room with CO2 .. go inside .. wait a couple minutes ... tell me how you feel .. oh ..wait ... you will be dead... nevermind

Posted: Saturday, May 3, 2014
Article comment by: Peter, Yavapai County

Humans cannot thrive without plant life which exhale oxygen and produce food. And plant life cannot exist without CO2, true enough. In fact, the human species has flourished since the last ice age ended (now 7,000,000,000 and counting!). Some would call that "ideal".

But since it is true that the CO2 conentration has risen quickly to 400 ppm due to human industry since 1850 and since that rise was ONLY due to 10% of humanity burning fossil fuels, the question remains: Is it wise for humanity to plan on mining and burning fossil fuels indefinitely?

Would it not be wiser to transition away from such an unpromising future? After all, if we humans continue to grow our fossil fuel consumption by a factor of 10, we can also expect ten times the amount of pollution, spills, train derailments, etc. Have you Googled: Beijing smog, lately?

In addition, as the rest of humanity develops a taste for coal, tar, oil and gas, the price of these commodities will continue to rise. The only benefits from fossil fuel use are short term. There are no long term benefits.

Posted: Saturday, May 3, 2014
Article comment by: nutso fasst

So, Peter YC, with percentage of atmospheric CO2 varying over the history of life on this planet from 0.0185% (185 ppm) during the last ice age to around 0.7% (7000 ppm) during the Carboniferous Period, what percentage do you consider ideal?

Your low historical figure of 185 ppm occurred during the last glaciation, when much atmospheric CO2 was trapped in ice and dissolved in colder oceans. Plants were not happy during that period, and I doubt you would be, either.

With CO2 less than 0.015% of the atmosphere (150 ppm), we humans would probably die out along with all higher-order plant life. Would you consider that a positive development?

At concentrations double 400 ppm, CO2 is still plant food, not poison.

Posted: Saturday, May 3, 2014
Article comment by: nutso fasst

Much of the early Earth's CO2 was sequestered in limestone (calcium carbonate), giant ferns that became coal, and algae that became crude oil.

It is extremely unlikely that burning of fossil fuels, even when augmented with concrete production for monstrous wind turbines, would raise % of CO2 to 13 times current levels.

As for Earth becoming Venus, consider that Venus's atmosphere is 92 times heavier than Earth's
and is comprised of about 95% CO2 versus Earth's 0.04%. Consider also that Venus is about 26 million miles closer to the sun and that one Venusian day equals 224.7 Earth days and you realize that, climate-wise, there is no basis for comparison. Anyone who claims otherwise is a denier of reality.

Posted: Friday, May 2, 2014
Article comment by: Peter, Yavapai County

It is now accepted as fact (Volstock ice core data), that over the long term, global climate change and sea level change has historically occurred in tandem with Earth's global warming/cooling cycle. According to the common interpretation of the data, we are currently in a warming (interglacial) period which began about 20,000 years ago.

The data tell us that During the last 20,000 years, atmospheric CO2 has risen from 185 parts per million (ppm) to 285 ppm, while the average Earth temperature has risen by about 10 degrees C, (about 18 degrees F). No one believes this interglacial period was human caused, but the data clearly reveal a strong, natural correlation between Earth's average temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentration.

The previous CO2 peak (before human industry), occurred about 125,000 years ago at a level of about 285 parts per million (ppm). The cyclic ice core data predict that the current level of atmospheric CO2 should now be about the same as back then, (285 ppm).

But recent measurements at NOAA show that current atmospheric CO2 levels have now reached 400 ppm and are climbing much more rapidly than ever before.

This extreme level of atmospheric CO2 growth is understood to be the accumulated result of human industry since 1850 specifically, the burning of fossil fuels for industry. In other words, humans are currently generating CO2 much faster than the natural environment can absorb it.

Posted: Friday, May 2, 2014
Article comment by: Wow Za!

Four consecutive examples of chutzpah and arrogance!

Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Article comment by: @ You will not write the ending

Wow! What site did you cut and paste that off of?

Between ice ages, my fanny. The world will never be cold again. We'll just keep getting hotter until we're just like Venus if we don't do exactly what Al Gore says has to be done right now.

Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Article comment by: Yet again, from

we learn that the ultimate knowledge of Climate Change-- as with other right-wing idiocies that are presented as 'the ONLY CORRECT ANSWER"-- resides not with lifelong, highly trained and specialize Scientists working to verify Truth, but, rather with yet another anonymous Verde Valley know-it-all resident.

Who sounds like George Will.

Man, we ought to vote Verde Valley the Cultural and Intellectual capitol of the world.

Sir/madam, the only thing you display is chutzpah and arrogance.


Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Article comment by: You will not write the ending ...

... and it's quite misleading and foolish to think you will.

The unfortunate aspect of the entire climate change issue is that it is painted almost entirely in anthropogenic terms, and especially by liberals who tend to use it as a political hammer.

The reality is far more complex than the simplistic picture painted by Mr. Durgain, Peter of Yavapai, and other leftists.

For instance, liberals consistently fail to mention the consensus of both geologists and climatologists that the Earth is currently in a temporarily warm inter-glacial period.

In other words, we are between ice ages.

The evidence shows the planet has been warming for at least 10,000 years. Man's burning of fossil fuels has nothing to do with this natural cycle of warming.

And liberals also fail to mention that nothing that we do or don't do in the future will alter the natural global cycle warming we are experiencing.

Seas will continue to rise and glaciers melt until the next ice age inevitably returns. Then the planet will cool in a natural cycle that has been repeated countless times over the eons.

Nor do they mention the fact that in the Earth's history carbon dioxide has been much higher than it is now.

These are inconvenient facts liberal activists avoid because it undermines their political agenda.

Liberals distort this issue to push their political agenda of taxing carbon, as if that will somehow make a difference.

It won't.

Taxing carbon will not stop the natural planetary cycle of global warming, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is merely pushing a political agenda.

Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Article comment by: Peter, Yavapai County

Recent measurements at NOAA show that current atmospheric CO2 levels have now reached 400 ppm and are climbing much more rapidly than ever before. This extreme level of atmospheric CO2 growth is understood to be the accumulated result of human industry since 1850 specifically, the burning of fossil fuels for industry. In other words, humans are currently generating CO2 much faster than the natural environment can absorb it.

If we change nothing, what will happen? If we continue with the status quo, we can expect the human population will continue to grow from 7 billion to 9 billion.

We can expect that all of these humans and their offspring will mine and burn coal, tar, oil and gas to fuel their automobiles and power plants, just as we do today.

Due to the growth of the human population and due to the global adoption of fossil fuel use by the 80% of humans who currently do not use fossil fuels, we can expect fossils fuel use to increase by thirteen times the current level. Or...?

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