Rise In Carbon Dioxide Threatens Civilisation

The following letter by me appeared in the Albany Times Union on Sunday, July 21.


The letter by Malcolm J. Sherman (“Models don’t show climate emergency,” July 16) claims that global temperatures have not risen since 1998, and that this is not predicted by models of climate change that have raised the alarm about global warming.

There is no real doubt the planet has gotten warmer. Air temperature data fluctuate widely from year to year, and it is possible to identify many short intervals when the temperature is lower at the end than at the beginning. What is important is that the mean over the last 100 years has increased.

The main reason for this is the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, which has gone from about 295 parts per million in 1900 to more than 398 parts per million today. This increase is due to the release of fossil carbon by combustion of fossil fuel, as shown by the lowered ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 in the air. Old carbon has lost C-14 due to radioactive decay.

Mr. Sherman’s argument, though based on a misinterpretation of the facts, would preserve the status quo rather than deal with the emerging population and environmental crisis that threatens our civilization.


3 thoughts on “Rise In Carbon Dioxide Threatens Civilisation”

  1. En France, on commence à prendre conscience que nous malmenons beaucoup trop notre malheureuse planète avec les émanations diverses de dioxyde de carbone. Des solutions sages sont possibles, surtout dans les villes où l’air devient irrespirable pour les résidents. Mais je crois que le principal problème est que nous sommes trop nombreux, que nous proliférons trop vite et que bientôt nous ne parviendrons plus à subvenir à notre alimentation et à maîtriser nos déchets. Il faudra peut-être envisager de coloniser d’autres planètes…

    1. Dear Armelle,

      I guess you are talking about Google translate. I did the experiment having Google translate your comment into English. Google translate indeed did a bad job! However, I understood your French very well and agreed completely with your analysis: the real problem is overpopulation.

      I use Google translate sometimes, to push me to use a bigger vocabulary. But I never rely on it anymore. Instead, I use Microsoft Word, which has a pretty good grammar checker in both English and French at least. This fixes some of the problems with the Google translation. Step by step I push my writing along. I do not imagine it could be mistaken for the product of a French education, and I would like it if you would let me know about my mistakes.

      I am pretty sure you have a good command of English. But if I am wrong, I will try to put this into French for you.


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