Letter to editor stock photo - pen to paper

"I think someday people will look back and say, what in God's name were these people thinking?" This quote is from an interview with Elizabeth Kolbert, a Pulitzer Prize winning science writer, whose books and articles clearly demonstrate how the science regarding our changing climate was basically settled many years ago.

She is of course, referring to our relative inaction in dealing with the growing threat to our planet, due to global warming caused by human activity and the the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. This should never have become a political issue, and in fact early on it was not nearly so much as it is today. Our divisiveness and inaction are largely the result of a years long disinformation campaign by the fossil fuel industry and denials by politicians like Donald Trump, who call it a hoax.

Atmospheric warming is not a theory. If you add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, it will trap heat. That is a fact. I would refer you to a very excellent Nova episode by Paul Douglas that does a wonderful job explaining the physics. We have been adding roughly 35 billion tons annually, and the last time the CO2 concentration was this high was 3 million years ago, when sea levels were between 50 to 80 feet higher than they are today, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Our military and virtually every other nation on earth publicly acknowledge the threats to our well-being caused by the progression of this problem. Look at a picture of the earth from space. As big as the globe may appear, human life is sustained by only a few thousand feet of atmosphere ringing our blue planet. We can live nowhere else, neither above or below that thin layer of air.

At this late stage all of us now more than ever have the responsibility to do what we can to head off the worst effects of global warming. We must limit our carbon footprint as best we can by use of our automobiles, our homes, and the products we buy. And ultimately, as with so many of the issues that confront us today, our best tool as citizens is the vote. We need political leaders who don't deny or minimize this existential problem, who understand how serious it is, and who pledge to act accordingly. Please keep this in mind when you vote this year.

John Barden

Prior Lake


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