The Norman Transcript

Opinion

August 8, 2012

Global warming was predicted years ago

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

In most of the United States, temperatures are above the long-term averages, and precipitation is below long-term averages. Is this a result of human-caused climate change? Yes.

Forecasts of detailed regional changes by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are variable and considerably uncertain in their specific indications, but global warming as a consequence of industrialization with increased emissions of carbon dioxide in earth’s atmosphere was predicted nearly 200 years ago by mathematician Joseph Fourier.

Such predictions have been recently confirmed by improved knowledge of the properties of greenhouse gases and improved means for analysis. Now, vastly increased industrialization is associated with increased burning of coal, oil and natural gas.

There is corresponding vastly increased emissions of greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide and methane, with associated increases of atmospheric content, as shown by the accompanying graph.

The present level of carbon dioxide in earth’s atmosphere is about 100 parts per million by volume higher than it has ever been in the past 800,000 years, as shown by studies of atmospheric gases in ice cores.

The annual increase shown by the graph represents a global problem, not just a Norman problem.

However, citizens of Norman and, indeed, of the entire United States need to be aware of implications of increased emissions of greenhouse gases, so that both the domestic and foreign policies of our country are appropriately directed.

Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma is the author of a recently published book, “The Greatest Hoax,” in which he recounts occasions when he spoke negatively and influentially in opposition to policies that would abate emissions of greenhouse gases. The book presents falsehoods about climate change, and failure to act effectively on related issues will greatly penalize our children and grandchildren.

Glaciers are shrinking globally, polar ice cover is shrinking and average sea level is rising nearly 3mm annually. The situation is serious and demands global solutions.

Regrettably in Oklahoma, emphasis on roads and highways by our Department of Transportation, with neglect and even discouragement of more energy-efficient rail, contributes to heightened emissions of greenhouse gases.

Edwin Kessler

Norman

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