We must take action on established theory

newsroom@islandpacket.comMay 19, 2014 

Recently a reader claimed that global warming, or climate change, is only a theory, and is probably one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetuated.

I think the writer is confusing hypothesis with established theory. I don't know of any theoretical physicist that scoffs at Einstein's theory of relativity.

This head-in-the-sand attitude is reminiscent of those who doubted that cigarette smoking caused lung cancer. This too was purported to be a wild theory that could be never proven.

Recently a large, long-term study of expert climatologists reported that human-induced climate change is accelerating. We are adding over 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, along with methane and other greenhouse gases. This CO2 remains in the atmosphere from 50 to 200 years, depending on how much is absorbed by the oceans.

This pace is accelerating, so that in 75 to 85 years, sea levels will increase by up to four feet in Miami and parts of the Florida coast.

This study was supported by 99.3 percent of over 3,100 climatologists. This is hardly a wild, unsubstantiated theory.

We live in an environment in the Lowcountry that also is vulnerable to rising sea levels. I hope we wake up to this threat so that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will not suffer from our ignorance.

Allan M. Lefer

Hilton Head Island

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