The dreaded 2 degrees Celsius rise in global warming will occur much sooner than 2100 as predicted by some estimates. The rise in CO2 is in a hockey-stick phase, and most estimates do not consider the continued increase in CO2 emissions from around the world including the United States.

Coal-fired plants produce about the same amount of CO2 per watt as natural gas. They also produce much more unsavory products such as sulfur dioxide (acid rain) and combustion waste products when compared with-gas powered generation of electricity. The coal-fired plants also cause pollution to land and water including mercury contamination. China and India are still rapidly developing new coal-fired energy, but any replacement to natural gas would still produce excessive CO2 and methane pollution.

Even a layman can see the undeniable rise in temperature and correlation with CO2 levels. Deniers’ claim of reduced solar output and other red hearing arguments have been completely disproven.

The other fact is that 2 degrees Celsius is an arbitrary number, and climate change is already occurring at the current level of temperature increase. When an ice cube melts, the temperature of both the water and ice remains constant for the ice at the freezing point. There is an energy input that is consumed to change the ice into water. This means an observed increase in temperature of even a small fraction of a degree above freezing from surrounding water, or air, will cause the ice to melt. This sensitivity to temperature explains why the Arctic ice has nearly disappeared in the last few summers and explains the retreat of the great glaciers around the globe.

The current administration has dismissed the climate scientists in favor of large oil and gas interests. It has rescinded tax incentives on hybrid and electric cars and encouraged the return of coal-fired energy. We need to set an example to the world and not abandon the Paris accords. This country should embark on renewable energy as a work program like the projects of the New Deal (Golden Gate Bridge etc.) This would provide good jobs and stimulate the economy instead of hoping somehow that good blue-collar jobs in the auto and other manufacturing jobs will ever return to the U.S.


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