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Letter to the Editor: Climate always changes

Climate changes and no one knows why, it just does. Always has. Always will.

The concept that gases in the atmosphere are trapping the sun’s rays is easy enough to accept. (Simplified version) Light energy comes in at given wavelengths, some is absorbed or reflected off of objects at another wavelength and cannot make it through the atmosphere back out to space. Some gases in the atmosphere that absorb the incoming light and reflected light get warmer. I am happy that it happens that way or we would all be frozen.

What is hard to accept is the conclusion that the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has significantly increased since the mid-1800s near the start of the Industrial Revolution. The claim is that the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere were about 250 parts per million (ppm) in mid-1800s. I ask in a quiet somewhat subdued voice, “How was that number determined?” How many locations were those measurements taken? How accurate were those measurements in the mid-1800s? (recording of CO2 began in the 1950s). Was that CO2 concentration determined by dissolved gas in arctic ice, tree rings or some other round about method? It is assumed that CO2 concentrations are evenly mixed throughout the atmosphere. Except in areas where it is not! A modeling assumption?

In 2013 the claim is that the CO2 concentrations were around 400 ppm. Again, quiet and subdued voice, “Where were those measurements taken?” Certainly not in Quincy, CA. Ground level or higher? Stable atmospheric conditions or unstable? At what elevation is CO2 measured? How many locations were sampled? Was it on a clear dry day or during a rain storm? And another claim is that CO2 concentrations are the highest level in the past 3 million years. REALLY? (somewhat elevated voice) And I am supposed to accept that as true scientific fact? (voice increases in pitch) I am to give up my gas-powered lawn mower, gas-powered chainsaw, gas-powered automobile, gas-powered generator. (Quiet again) I do not think so.

Quoted from a National Geographic article, “Earth’s atmosphere is composed of about 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, 0.9 percent argon, and 0.1 percent other gases. Trace amounts of carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and neon are some of the other gases that make up the remaining 0.1 percent.” You can relate to that 0.1 percent. That is the interest Plumas Bank pays on a savings account.

Read that again and you will note that CO2 is a trace compound found in the atmosphere. Even if one were to accept the claim that currently CO2 is 400 ppm that is not very much carbon dioxide in the big picture. That is 400/1,000,000. That is 1,000,000/400=0.0004% of the gasses in the atmosphere is CO2. Why hasn’t anyone told me that? (I am not a mathematician so I encourage anyone to set me straight if that math is wrong.) The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is very small.

There are natural processes in the environment that absorb CO2 as well as release CO2. Take a deep breath. Now exhale. See? Did you know that plants give off CO2 at night? Consider that when you plant your next tree. Save that thought for another day.

Do I deny climate change occurs? Absolutely not. Always has, always will.
Do I seriously question that the cause of climate change is from man’s activities? I absolutely do.

The cause of climate change is a hypothesis that has not been proven. It is a figment of one’s imagination supported by observational science, statistical analysis and modeling. Do you really want to base your dependency on electricity on that level of “science”? Should we be coerced into buying electrically driven power equipment or vehicles based on that “science”? Well, they are doing it. What is the price of gasoline today?

Pertaining to the atmosphere, I have not included anything in this letter that is not covered in an 8th grade science book. At least when I was in 8th grade.

I am not trying to change your mind. I do encourage you to think for yourself. If you don’t someone else will do it for you.

Phillip Shafer
Quincy, CA

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