Sun, Oct 03, 2010 - Page 9 News List

LETTER

The clear role of carbon

Charles Hong asserts that “the environmental impact of carbon dioxide on global warming is still controversial.” He could not be more wrong (Letters, Sept. 29, page 8).

There is no scientific controversy over the contribution of carbon emissions to global warming, only a political one that mainly occurs in the US.

Further, his examples of Typhoon Fanapi and Typhoon Morakot serve to underline his apparent confusion of local weather events with the global climate — a common misunderstanding.

The science, built up over the last 35 years or so, is very clear. Global warming is largely the result of increased carbon dioxide, a key factor of which has been human activity.

National political -discourse in the US in particular, from where Hong writes, has struggled to come to terms with this in the last decade or so, but has arrived late to an argument that has long since moved on to what we can do about global change — not whether or not it is happening or what is causing it.

Appealing to electric cars as a solution will not really help, because it is not a carbon neutral option.

The US at the moment is struggling to meet its current energy demands at peak times in a system largely built in the 1930s; and most of the power stations burn fossil fuels. Electric cars will inevitably increase demand for power — and increase carbon emissions.

Paul Deacon

Kaohsiung

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