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Letter to Editor: Scientists agree on climate change

My name is John King and last month on Earth Day/Science Day I held up a sign on Highway 71 in Park Rapids that said "Climate Change Denial is Science Denial."

A reader of your newspaper wrote saying that among other things I was being extreme, insulting and unscientific in my advocacy for the science of climate change.

The science is settled; there is near unanimous consensus. The thousands upon thousands of scientists worldwide who study the various aspects of climate and earth systems all agree that anthropogenic climate change is occurring right now. To deny their findings is to deny the legitimacy of the science supporting their findings.

It doesn't take a computer algorithm to see the effects of climate change. I lived in Alaska for many years and recently returned for a visit. Things have changed dramatically in the 20 years of my absence. My friend, a school teacher, lived in a village on the Kuskoskuim River Delta. He can't go back. The village is gone, submerged by a combination of rising sea level and melting permafrost. The villagers are the first American climate change refugees. Elsewhere in Alaska, entire forests are dead and brown, victims of spruce bud worm, which invade when winters become warm enough. Even healthy trees are suffering as the permafrost melts below them. They heave and buckle leaning this way and that like a child's game of pick up sticks. Portage Glacier, where I used to cross-country ski, is nearly gone. Its icy tongue protruded nearly to the highway. Now it has retreated far up into the mountains.

Closer to home the changes are less dramatic. Lake ice is slow to form. I used to go ice skating as a Thanksgiving ritual with my brothers. Now there isn't even any ice.

I operate a small maple sugaring business. It depends on predictable spring freeze/thaw weather for its success. This year, it was so warm that sap flow started six weeks early and ended quickly.

Because of warm winters, Emerald Ash Borer has invaded as far as the Twin Cities. If the weather continues to warm, I will lose hundreds of ash trees to the disease they bring.

For me, climate change is very personal. Every year, I lose more and more of the world that I once knew to a warming world that breaks my hearts in so many ways.

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