In response to Reader’s Reflect Anti-Global Warming Hysterics

A Case of Mischaracterized Identity of Data and Sources

Perhaps Mr. Middlebrook is the one displaying hysteria by using inappropriate data and mischaracterizing my prior My Shot in Moonshine Ink. He impugns my integrity for using data from reliable sources.

He states that atmospheric temperature has risen “only” 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880 (an abnormally warm year). That would be true through 2014 (NASA information commonly found in a Google search). He accused me of making “false claims” by saying global temperature has increased 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1860, including land and sea surface temperatures through 2018. But that is also true. (See: University of East Anglia, HadCRUT4 data.)

He claims the “best physics” shows that only about 18% of the temperature rise is from anthropogenic CO2. What physics — and mechanisms? Over this period, natural influences from volcanoes, solar intensity, and Earth’s orbital/axis changes have produced plus/minus half-degree changes. Human impacts from land cover changes and ozone have roughly offset each other. Aerosols from burning fossil fuels have had a cooling effect. Greenhouse gas emissions (mostly CO2) are the dominant human influence. Carbon isotope ratios in plants and atmospheric CO2 show that it’s from fossil fuels. (See: February 2019 update, Fourth National Climate Assessment, Chapter 2, interactive Figure 2.1 “Human and Natural Influences on Global Temperature.”)

He claims my advocacy for “100% noncarbon energy” is a “falsehood.” I think carbon-neutrality is possible, but I said, “We have a long way to go.” I think it will take carbon capture and storage, nuclear, and carbon-neutral biofuels — and a determined, focused effort.

He says that I “impugn the integrity of anyone who disagrees with” me. I did not say, nor did I imply that. But I am skeptical of people, like Tom McClintock, who receive money from the fossil fuel industry, which has spent millions of dollars over the past decade funding climate change denial. (Read Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, by Naomi Oreskes.)

~ John Henry Beyer, Truckee, Ph.D. geophysicist, via letter

In response to opinion piece Rep. McClintock’s Dubious ‘Plan’ to Address Climate Change

Evidence Lacking for Human-Caused Climate Change

The planet has climate change. It has always existed, it is occurring as we occupy our infinitesimal lifespans, and it will be so long as we have a living planet.

While Mr. Beyer may possess the credentials to count himself among the 97% of climate scientists he references, he hasn’t presented a snippet of evidence to irrefutably tie the primary causation to human activities.

I have two observations about all of this. First, the I.P.C.C. Investigation itself found that there was a systematic bias on the point of its signatories to block the publication of opposing papers essentially markedly limited to proponents, further limiting work done by opponents.

Finally, scientific truth is not settled by consensus. A theory is merely that until it is proven by experiment. Remember, when Einstein said that light consisted of particles, all of the existing publications said light is a continuous wave.

~ Sunny Day, Carnelian Bay resident, via letter

In response to opinion piece On Climate Change — the Sky is Not Falling

Congressman McClintock Didn’t Tell the Full Story

Congressman Tom McClintock proposed four actions for climate adaptation. I will focus on two:

1. McClintock argues that nuclear power plants and hydroelectric dams offer abundant and reliable power with no carbon dioxide emissions at lower costs and with smaller ecological footprints than wind and solar. Reservoirs built for hydro energy have negative effects on water temperatures, plants, fish, and other animals. Nuclear costs were three times that of utility-scale wind and solar in 2017, and nuclear causes radioactive waste and safety issues. According to Lazard, utility-scale onshore wind and solar are at or lower than fossil fuel energy sources and are forecasted to reduce further.

2. He advocates for forest management by harvesting excess trees. Forest management is critical but much of the vegetation that is removed is uneconomic for lumber companies. The clear-cutting strategies he proposed reduce the ability of forests to combat global warming by acting as carbon sinks. Many believe that budget cuts to the USFS for proper forest management aggravates the problem. McClintock voted for these cuts.

Climate adaptation measures must include significant reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions and a transition to renewable energy.

~ Erin de Lafontaine, Truckee resident, via letter

In response to opinion letter Thanks to Squaw Valley

Town and Resorts Endorsing Energy/Climate Act

Over a month ago, I expressed thanks to Squaw/Alpine for endorsing the Energy Innovation and Climate Dividend Act. Since then, there has been a stream of local, high profile endorsements. On April 23, the Truckee Town Council unanimously endorsed the Energy Innovation and Climate Dividend Act (H.R.763), which puts a price on carbon and returns the revenue to households as a dividend. Truckee joins towns like Anchorage, Alaska, Rochester, New York, and South Miami, Florida.

Boreal Mountain Resort, Soda Springs Mountain Resort, and Woodward at Tahoe endorsed the act. So did Olympic gold medalist Julia Mancuso and the McConkey Foundation. Nineteen ski resorts, three regional ski associations, and the National Ski Areas Association now endorse the act.

Truckee and our ski community show that you can think globally and act locally. Together, we can move mountains!

~ Matt Tucker, Truckee, member of the North Tahoe Chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, via letter