Saturday, May 25, 2024

What do you well kids born today?

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Re: Preparing for dangerous weather [Ryan Price, Times, March 1].

After dismissing man-made global warming, Ryan Price has moved on to arguing with himself about the consequence: climate change and the need to act. Because nobody has ever disputed the need for resilience and adaptation.

Oil companies knew in the 1960s about the problems of CO2 from burning fossil fuels – their own scientists told them. Politicians were certainly aware by 1988, when the World Meteorological Organisation initiated the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The present crisis is entirely due to politicians – predominantly ideologically conservative/neoliberal – not giving councils a lead and the power to act.

So now we are up the creek without a paddle. Billions will be needed to simply undo the damage, and we are still left with the root cause – global warming.

Yes, we can adapt to the 1.1 degrees C since industrialisation. But emissions at the present rate could mean 4C with 5m of sea level rise. Nobody knows because permafrost melt and ice sheet disintegration are not completely understood or modelled.

Perhaps Mr Price could give the children born today some advice on how they might deal with that.

Addendum re his letter Alarming Conclusions, March 8. Ryan Price cannot explain why our adding CO2 to the atmosphere does not cause warming because it does – as predicted and explained by atmospheric physics and measured by satellites – and Earth cannot gain the ‘extra’ energy it has done unless the atmosphere changes to enhance the greenhouse effect – i.e. the level of gas molecules that interact with long wave radiation increases. This fact is also fundamental to Earth coming out of an Ice Age – changes in insolation [the incident solar radiation onto some object] due to the Milankovitch cycles [three ways the Earth’s orbit around the Sun changes over the course of tens of thousands of years] are not sufficient.

Dennis Horne, Howick

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