Let’s act as if global warming is real.

Larry Grimard, in his letter, “How can carbon dioxide be causing Earth to warm?” (Feb. 15) raises questions that puzzle many. It’s interesting that global temperature rise has slowed for the past 10 years, while atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations continue to increase.

NOAA considers this to be a rare event consistent with current scientific models, but, if it continues, NOAA recognizes that climate models and predictions will have to be revised.

The greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide does not alone determine the temperature of the Earth, but a large increase in the small quantity of this potent gas has the ability to disturb the temperature balance of the Earth.

Even a trickle of water can cause a bathtub to overflow if the drain is plugged, and an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide that will remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years will cause warming if there is no mechanism to remove it or counteract its effects.

Suppose global warming is a fiction. Does this mean that proposals to prevent it are worthless? On the contrary. Why should we rely on fossil fuels from unstable regions of the world? Does this make sense economically or strategically? Why not build more fuel-efficient cars, more energy-efficient factories, less power-hungry computer apps and TV cable systems, better-insulated houses? Why not invest in developing new technologies and infrastructure?

After all, President Eisenhower invested in the interstate highway system, and government-funded research led to the development of the Internet.

I believe that there is little to be lost and much to be gained by acting as if human activity causes global warming, but we may be in for catastrophe if we act as though it is a fiction.

Philippa Solomon


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