Letter to the Editor: Fixing the facts

I am writing to correct David Cuddy on his Forum article in Thursday’s Hatchet (“Treaty hurts Americans,” April 19). Cuddy claims that greenhouse gases have never been proven to cause global warming. Without getting too much into the details, science does not have the power to “prove” anything. Even something as obvious as gravity cannot be proven – it can only be strongly supported by evidence, which it is. The idea that industrial and vehicular greenhouse emissions are causing global climate change is also strongly supported by scientific evidence as documented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Cuddy states that human-caused greenhouse emissions are only two percent of total emissions. I have no idea where this number came from, especially since scientific research estimates total human emissions at over six billion tons of carbon annually – far more than all natural processes combined.

Cuddy later demonstrates his poor understanding of physical processes. He claims “volcanic eruptions and evaporation of seawater dwarf industrial emissions.” However, neither of these processes emits carbon dioxide. Volcanic eruptions emit ash and other particulate matter that block the sun’s heat and actually cool the earth somewhat. The process Cuddy cites as a dominant warming cause actually promotes global cooling. And as a student of marine biology and chemistry, I fail to see how the evaporation of water, H2O, emits carbon dioxide, CO2. Lastly, the Kyoto Protocol does not punish the United States because of our population. It punishes us because we are the biggest polluters, emitting a quarter of greenhouse gases worldwide with only four percent of the global population.

Cuddy’s misrepresentation and ignorance of science does a great injustice to the science behind a global problem.

-Geoffrey Langham

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