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Letter to the Editor: Climate change a huge risk to humanity's future

I was interested to read recently published letters on climate change from both sides of the aisle. Therein lies the problem-the subject is too often politicized rather than analyzed via a scientific impartial view. We know politicians are beholden to their financial supporters which influences their decisions.

Having worked in the nuclear power industry I confess to some personal bias in supporting that technology proposed by one writer. I also agree that a strong military is important; having also worked on military projects it surprised me that our military branch firmly recognizes climate change and are actively dealing with the risks of as a matter of national security particularly at the coastal ports.

As to whether greenhouse gas increase and consequent climate change is entirely natural or impacted by human activity, it is certainly a combination of both. However approximately 97 percent of climatologists agree that the human contribution is significant and climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, according to

There has never been an increase in greenhouse gases such as we are seeing at present. Atmospheric concentration of the major greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, followed a very regular 50,000-year cycle of increase and decrease for 400,000 years until the mid-20th century when a sudden spike started and has continued to rise(NOAA website). The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 0.9 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century (the start of the industrial revolution). This compares to the previous 1-degree Celsius temperature rise that took approximately 10,000 years.

As one of our more impartial and respected politicians John McCain predicted in 2008: “the facts of global warming demand our urgent attention; we are likely to see more forest fires than in previous decades…changes in crop production… more heat waves afflicting our cities and a greater intensity in storms.” Very topical this month!

Climate change is a huge security, health and economic risk and the science cannot be ignored. While carbon dioxide is essential to life on earth, too much can be harmful, just like politics.


Phil Wolstenholme