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Letter to the Editor: Regarding ‘False environmental predictions’

In scientific terms, Walter E. Williams [“False environmental predictions,” Oct. 16] and the Competitive Research Institute are unreliable judges of the global environment, and acceptance of their confused views would be extremely dangerous for our future. 

The human population, only about 1 million total 11,000 years ago has grown explosively to 7.7 billion, with an additional 2.2 billion net projected over the next 30 years. About 800 million people go to bed hungry every day. Eight people, six of them in the U.S., possess as much wealth as the 3.6 billion poorest among us. We are unsustainably consuming about 175% of the world’s total sustainable productivity [Global Footprint Network, www.gfn.org]. 

If everyone in the world were consuming at the level of the U.S. and Western Europe, it would take three to four extra planets to sustain us, yet the rich nations seem only to want to become richer. 

Over the next few decades, about 1 million of the estimated 12 million species on Earth are likely to disappear within the next few decades, and yet they, individually and collectively, make all life, including ours, possible; we do not know when their loss will lead to widespread collapse. Farms and pastures occupy 40% of the Earth’s surface. 

Global warming, understood since the 1890s, has warmed the Earth by nearly 2º F already, continuing to increase, with many consequences worldwide. Only international collaboration can limit these increases, and yet our collective response so far has been weak. To ignore what’s going on in the world with carefully contrived arguments would be tantamount to saying 99%-plus of the scientists in the world agree that a giant meteorite is going to hit your house by the holidays, and then going ahead and ignoring the consensus in favor of arguments that simply dance around history and fact.

Peter H. Raven

• • •

In response to the Oct. 16 column “False Environmental Predictions” by Walter E. Williams, I have a suggested reading list of current climate science reports for him and this magazine’s audience. These reports are signed by all major U.S. federal agencies and are available by searching the internet for “scientific consensus on climate change.”

There are 13 federal agencies that have concluded that human-caused climate change is real. The 13 agencies are the departments of Commerce, Defense, Agriculture, Interior, Energy, State and Transportation as well as the United States Agency for International Development, National Science Foundation, Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Smithsonian and NASA.

The fact that we have heat-trapping gases accumulating in the atmosphere has been well documented. The “Green-House Effect” is happening in the Earth’s atmosphere as heat-trapping gases have a long residence life; these gases have been accumulating since the industrial revolution. 

As of 2019, 97% of the climate scientists’ – experts from around the world – support human-caused climate change. 

Efforts to dissuade the use of current scientific data is done for the purpose of supporting the financial agenda of some industries. It is estimated that more than 90% of papers skeptical on climate change originate from right-wing think tanks that choose to ignore the facts. 

Dale Markley

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