February 12, 2013 · 4:44 PM

Dear editor,

It's great that Caleb Draper has begun to look into the causes of global climate change (What Global Warming? Record, Jan. 30).

Skepticism is an approach that will serve him well in his research. He will find that, among the breadth of information available, some is not factual, some is based on narrow or misleading data, and some is sponsored by fossil-fuel business-as-usual interests.

Mr. Draper is right that carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air is needed for plant growth and is not toxic in small concentrations for humans to breathe. However, since the 19th century, scientists have understood CO2's powerful greenhouse qualities.

Up from five billion tonnes in 1950, the 30 billion tonnes of CO2 now being dumped into the atmosphere each year is by far the greatest contributor to the rapid warming that the earth is now experiencing, as particularly demonstrated in the Arctic.

The increased level of CO2 is also clearly responsible for the rapid acidification of the oceans.

Reputable science makes it clear: The longer we wait to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the more assured is a catastrophic future.

The required transitions will not be simple or painless, but they must begin immediately, wishful thinking and denials notwithstanding.

Tom Pater,



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