Letters to the Editor

Analogy works for climate change

To the Editor,

Re: True science on climate change is never settled, Letters, Jan. 17.

Randy O’Donnell raises many points in his letter challenging my views and approach, but I will limit myself to one: “Equating atmospheric warming with that of a car in the hot sun is just absurd reductionism.”

Analogies are sometimes lost on people. So here’s how this one works: Window glass is usually composed of silicon and oxygen.

Our atmosphere is principally made up of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. Radiant heat travels through each in similar ways. Both our atmosphere and window glass allow visible light and the intense near-infrared heat of the sun to easily pass through, but both absorb more of the cooler heat of far-infrared heat emitting from the surfaces of our planet, the car and building interior.

This is how our atmosphere traps enough of the sun’s heat to maintain life, but how window glass of a small contained space, like an automobile, can overheat its occupants.

It has been proven that the more carbon we pump into the atmosphere the more our planet traps heat and acts like that car sitting in the summer sun.

Thus, while the atmosphere and window glass are not the same, the analogy works.

Similarly, I realize all of us have our “lenses” that only allow certain viewpoints to filter through.

Some deny climate change and others deny, say, societal decay.

Most of us, though, wish to live in a climate of peace and safety.

Ian Gartshore


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