To the editor:
I am concerned about climate change. The essentials are not terribly complicated. The Earth’s atmosphere is thin — according to Timothy Ferris in “The Science of Liberty,” thinner relative to the planet’s diameter than the layer of moisture covering one’s eyes. Nitrogen and oxygen comprise 99 percent of the atmosphere. These gases hold in no heat, but the remaining critical 1 percent includes several “greenhouse” gases, notably, water vapor, CO2 and methane.
These absorb infrared light rather than letting it escape — acting like the closed windows of a parked car. To a point this is good, but it is estimated that nearly a third of the CO2 in the atmosphere today is manmade. CO2 in the atmosphere has reached 385 ppm versus the 275 that it was for the last 10,000 years.
Ignoring this could be extremely unpleasant and dauntingly expensive to reverse. At higher levels the threat arises of runaway warming, as global temperatures spiral upward, utterly out of control. In 2007, a United Nations panel on climate change made up of 170 scientists warned us that greenhouse gas emissions have increased 70 percent between 1970 and 2004 and average warming over the past 50 years is very likely (a probability of over 90 percent) due to greenhouse gas increases.
The coal plant in western Kansas does little for Kansans or the planet Earth. The rest of the country is moving in other directions. Kansans can comment on the proposed plant through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.