I feel compelled to respond to Larry Kirkland’s May 21 letter, “Lay out the facts on climate change.”
He stated that writers have “hurt their credibility by repeating the lie that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that there has been climate change caused by human activity.”
It is not a lie. Scientists have been predicting the human contribution to global warming with increasing confidence since 1896.
“The consensus that humans are causing recent global warming is shared by 90–100 percent of publishing climate scientists according to six independent studies” based on thousands of research papers (John Cook et. al 2016 Environ. Res. Lett. 11 048002).
Significantly, the greater the climate expertise among those surveyed, the higher the consensus. The authors concluded that “the finding of 97-percent consensus in published climate research is robust and consistent with other surveys of climate scientists and peer-reviewed studies.”
Whether the number is 90 percent or 100 percent, the level of scientific agreement is overwhelmingly high because the supporting scientific evidence is overwhelmingly strong … comparable to the evidence that smoking causes cancer.
Although Kirkland feels alternative energy is not economically viable, it is an incredibly fast-moving area with innovative, economical solutions being developed every day -- photovoltaics using abundant low-cost materials, vibrating bladeless wind turbines, gigantic ‘batteries’ for wind farms using water stored behind dams (making the cheapest electricity in the nation), and more.
It is notable that Georgetown, Texas (population 67,000) is powered entirely by renewable energy. Too many people cast doubts on the validity and ability of science to identify problems and develop solutions.
By acknowledging that our actions contribute to the earth’s warming, we must support technological solutions that are economical and scientifically sound to mitigate the effects of climate change. We can do this.