A smoke screen to hide global warming facts
To the editor:
In the Oct. 2 issue of the Independent, Phil Drietz of Delhi strikes again. This time, Mr. Drietz assures us that we don’t have to worry about global warming. He distracts us by discussing the heat capacities of various greenhouse gases.
First, Mr. Drietz’s discussion of the heat capacities of greenhouse gases is a smoke screen designed to mislead. It is not the heat capacity, the ability to hold heat, of these gases that is the problem. Rather, it is the radiative forcing, the ability of greenhouse gases to trap heat energy from the sun.
Sunlight strikes the surface of the earth, say a patch of sidewalk. The sidewalk absorbs the sunlight and heats up. Then the sidewalk emits heat. If you hold your hand over a sunlit patch of sidewalk you can feel this re-emitted heat.
The incoming and outgoing radiations are different. The incoming light is shorter wavelengths and the greenhouse gases are transparent to most it. This is why we can see the sun and stars.
The outgoing radiation is longer wavelengths. The greenhouse gases are somewhat opaque to longer wavelengths. The greenhouse gases absorb some of the outgoing radiation and become hotter. This is why greenhouse gases can cause global warming. The greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere that otherwise would radiate into space.
Both carbon dioxide and methane are greenhouse gases with the potential to cause global warming. Both are dumped into the atmosphere by human activities that could be limited.
Why is Mr. Drietz opposed to proven ideas such as global warming? Is he just anti-science or does he support continued or increased usage of fossil fuels?
Paul Reveres such as Greta Thunberg and 95% of climate scientists are sounding the alarm. They call out, “The temperature is rising, the ice is melting, and our civilization is in danger.” We must, at least, give a fair evaluation of their claims.
Mr. Drietz would have us roll over in our beds and go back to sleep while the house burns down around us.