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Letter to the editor: Global warming is not 'unsettled science'

Debbie Brattlof's guest opinion of May 17 makes several good points, including that it takes experts to evaluate climate change/global warming, but it also contains factual errors. The most important errors are the statements that global temperature rise, and human causation, are "unsettled science." As Christian-conservative and former WCCO chief meteorologist Paul Douglas puts it in his new book, Caring for Creation, the science behind these realities is "undeniable," and poses a "threat to the world" that Christians, as "stewards of the Earth" must take seriously. He warns that the children of the coming generation will ask their parents what they did to try to head off the massive global disruptions.

For instance, there is enough ice in the East Antarctic Ice Sheet alone to raise sea levels by 170 feet (which would flood over 90 percent of Florida). This ice is in an accelerating slide toward the sea, lubricated by meltwater (Scientific American, 2002). Even a mere six-foot rise would displace 100 million Bangladeshis from their land, forcing them to find refuge among already overcrowded populations to their north if nothing is done.

While the "settling" of science is an endless process, there is much that we know with scientific certainty. We have moved from guessing and prediction to documenting visible effects, including the progressive loss of arctic ice, the northward creep of agricultural climates and ecosystems, and the accelerating global temperature-rise. Agriculture has already suffered great financial loss through decreased production in classic grain-growing areas (NPR, May 2017). The fact that these real effects are caused by human activity is now agreed by virtually all scientists who have studied them. The reality of global warming is accepted by European governments generally. Only the U.S. is backward in this respect.

The colossal crisis we are now facing began with the dawn of the industrial age. It's not new.

There are conflicting "agendas" involved, but Debbie Brattlof mentions only one, that of the environmentalists, which in reality is to care for and preserve our planet for coming generations. The other agenda is that of short-term profit for financiers, as it was when the tobacco industry denied the already well-established fact that nicotine is addictive. We need to open our eyes to the whole of the Earth, and join the growing efforts to come to a reasonable balance of human activities.

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