Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I am writing in response to your June 7 column about the Paris Accord and climate change. You make several good points about the state’s role in combating climate change, but one part of the column reveals a misunderstanding about climate change that many Americans have.
You wrote that “it is obvious global warming is natural or else we wouldn’t have had glacier ages” and question why 1800 (the baseline for carbon levels) is “a magical date”. Consider the following:
uIt is true that glacier ages and warming ages happen naturally, but these changes happened slowly over 10,000 plus years. Temperature changes happened so slowly that, had scientists been around, they could not have noticed the change. In the present day, we have detected a temperature difference within the last 100 years: too fast to be natural.
u1800 is the baseline for carbon levels because it is roughly the beginning of the Industrial Age which is when carbon emissions started.
uEven if the warming was natural, climate change also includes the oceans becoming more acidic, which destroys coral reefs that form many islands and kill the fish that the human fishing industry depends on. Water becomes acidic when carbon dioxide, our main emission, is added to it. It does not happen naturally in the oceans.
You are correct that states have the important role in combatting climate change, but as of now only 10 states are taking action. When we fail to understand climate change it becomes easier to take no action. Both scientists and the media need to do a better job spreading the reality we live in.