The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

May 14, 2013

Honest interpretation of data


Daily Item

---- — I read with some consternation, the letter to The Daily Item from Ron Blatchley about Climate Change. His views are typical of a certain segment of society, often referred to as "deniers," that seem unable or unwilling to accept the overwhelming preponderance of evidence and interpretation among qualified climatologists that indicates that climate change is ongoing. All the evidence points towards this, even the so-called cooling trend that the deniers have trotted out recently, which has been shown to be a fluctuation within a long term trend.

I am disturbed at his assertion that climate change might not actually be that bad. What he fails to note are the projected droughts, crop failures, famines and deaths that are likely to result from these changes, or the increased ranges of disease vector insects bringing malaria and dengue fever for example to many places not known for their tropical diseases.

Whole ecosystems are threatened by changes in precipitation and temperature patterns. Populated areas with dwindling water supplies are likely to see increased conflicts and loss of life and low-lying areas are already being inundated by rising sea levels. Don't think for one minute that this will only affect distant parts of the world -- these changing climate patterns will directly affect the U.S. as well through these greater extremes of weather.

Mr. Blatchley asks if we can even stop climate change. Of course we can. We know exactly how to do it but it is clear that the false debate generated by companies and governments that stand to gain most from the status quo is standing in the way of real and substantive measures. Quite simply, we need to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses. Climate change is an extremely complex subject and while we do not understand all its ramifications yet, the uncertainty regarding these details neither undermines the overall interpretation of the data nor does it validate the counter argument that nothing is happening at all.

To disagree with someone who rejects the scientific process and injects false doubt into a complex public discussion is not jeering as he suggests, it is simply the honest interpretation of the existing data.

David S. Richard,

Winfield