To the editor:
Wind power, solar heating system, geothermal heat pumps, photo-voltaics and other renewable choices are the promise of the future, not coal. The reason?
"The reservoir of oxygen in the atmosphere is large but not infinite. It amounts to 1.2 million gigatons. Since eight tons of oxygen are used up for every three tons of carbon burned, and we are burning six gigatons of carbon per year (1990 data), we might expect that the oxygen is being used up at the rate of about 13 parts per million per year. Thirteen parts per million should be measurable." - Freeman Dyson from his essay "Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere & Biosphere," 1990.
According to a recent study by scientists from the Scripps Institute there is less oxygen in the atmosphere today. The study, which interpreted data from NOAA monitoring stations all over the world, has been running from 1989 to the present. It monitored the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the decline in oxygen. The conclusion is that, as carbon dioxide (produced primarily by burning fossil fuels) accumulates in the atmosphere, available oxygen is decreasing."
As every schoolchild is supposed to know, the burning of fuels uses up oxygen from the atmosphere, and the growth of plants puts oxygen back. If the natural ratio is upset by cumulative practices since about 1900, then you have climate change.
Sven Erik Alstrom,