Opinion: Global warming is not settled science
To my surprise after reading last weeks "Our Opinion" by the editors at the Spotlight (see "Winter doesn't mean the planet isn't warming," Feb. 22), I find myself labeled a "climate denier." It seems if you don't agree with the contention that humans are responsible for global warming, you are a "denier" and thereby have all the warts of an uneducated boob. I disagree.
The current Artic polar vortex referred to is beyond a doubt a nasty experience, but hasn't broken the coldest day record in Chicago. That was Jan. 28, 1985, recorded at O'Hare Airport at -27 degrees.
Another reference made by the editors was how beastly hot it is in Australia. Yes, it is bloody hot, but the hottest day on record was Jan. 2, 1960, at 123.3 degrees.
The power failure in Buenos Aires, Argentina, another reference point causing much suffering, is a product of the metro center, overcrowded due to recent political upheaval and economic necessity, overloading the antiquated power system. Nothing new there.
The constant pounding of the belief that humans are responsible and are the source of the increase of CO2 as settled science is not totally true. No one I know believes that only American sacrifice is the key to climate control. China, India and Pakistan bring coal-powered generator plants online every week, and have been doing so for years. They don't meet the standards of emissions we in the U.S. demand of our generators.
It is cheaper and much easier for these emerging nations to build small generators in places the power is needed than to build dams or wind farms and string miles of high-tension wires. These plants aren't running Nike factories or Apple assembly plants. They run lights, water pumps, refrigeration and electricity for clinics, the very basic necessities for life. Reason with those nations that they need to halt the production of coal-generated power.
America is doing incredible work cleaning up our CO2 emissions. If you buy into the idea that humans can control the climate of this earth by further regulating U.S. power generation, that is a leap of faith I can't take at this time. The United States of America is not the source of the destruction of this planet. The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement was a refusal by President Donald Trump's administration to support wealth redistribution, nothing else.
I traveled for business before I retired, and New York City was a frequent destination. In the right season, Central Park was a wondrous place to visit in the daytime. Exposed sheets of granite, the foundation of the entire state, showed the very visible results of glaciers that ebbed and flowed over that geography in the last Ice Age. Game of Thrones has nothing on the ice that was over a mile thick from 2.6 million years to as little as 11,700 years ago. Those same mountains of ice, miles thick, formed the Great Lakes with their tremendous weight and pressure. A walking educational tour of the park conducted by Geologists was very informative.
I lived for a dozen years on the shore of the Flathead Lake in Montana. Again, geologic tours educated the interested. The glacial lake Missoula, 200 miles long and 2,000 feet deep, was formed repeatedly by ice damming the Clark Fork River. Our Columbia Gorge was formed by repeated catastrophic ice dams bursting. Scappoose has its valuable gravel deposits due to the same events repeated dozens of time.
In all the situations above, the creation of the Great Lakes, the obvious glacial evidence in New York City's Central Park, and our local geological beauty, are a result of the past Ice Age. There was no coal-burning power plants, nor was there millions of automobiles — yet the glaciers receded.
The Graduated Mercury Thermometer was invented in 1714 and only since then do we have any reliable records to judge by.
Global warming, and man's ability to control it, is not settled science.
Tom Ford lives in Scappoose.