The Skagit Valley Herald ("Hotter days projected," July 18) warns about a possible increase in the number of hot days in our county, “if nothing is done to curb greenhouse gas emissions.” The article cites a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), referred to only as a nonprofit.
For the record, UCS is actually an advocacy group, not a scientific one. They have a political agenda, part of which is a vehement belief in global warming.
Let's assume they're right about warming. Does that mean UCS is also right that a focus on cutting greenhouse gas will prevent warming?
No, for two reasons.
First, while the so-called scientific consensus says human-created greenhouse gases cause warming, there is much that we don't know. Other factors could explain some or all of warming. Earth has warmed before, prior to the industrial age. Our county was covered in thick ice some years ago. Presumably, we all agree it's better the way it is now.
Second, an actual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is a virtual impossibility. All nations share one atmosphere. In most of the world, the first, last and only issue is poverty, or conversely, economic growth. People who live on a couple of dollars per day can be excused for not worrying about a projected two-degree warming over 80 years.
Sure, India and China signed on to the Paris Accords, because that deal allowed them to set their own reductions conveniently scheduled far in the future. And we should hope that other nations will follow their path out of extreme poverty. For the foreseeable future, that will mean higher emissions as they develop.
If we're worried about heat, adaptation makes far more sense than chasing the chimera of a carbon-free economy.