We can adapt to climate change, but can’t reverse it
We have been bombarded with progressive thinking over the years that carbon dioxide (CO2) has resulted in warming temperatures. The fact that the global warming trend began 200 years ago while CO2 concentrations were stable between 280-300 parts per million (ppm), coupled with a 35-year decline in global temperatures starting in the 1940s while the CO2 concentration increased to 320 ppm, is inconsistent with the popular belief that man’s activities caused global warming.
My thinking has been reinforced by climate scientists with national and international reputations, who have written articles saying that climate change is subject to many variables that humans have no control over, such as sunspot activity, volcanic activity, the tilt of the Earth, water vapor, methane releases from the polar regions, ocean cycles, and atmospheric dust, to name a few that significantly affect climate.
A Dr. William Happer testified before a Senate committee, stating, “Climate change is governed by hundreds of factors or variables and the thought that we can manage climate change is as misguided as it gets.”
A Swedish scientist, Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, formally with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, stated, “We are creating great anxiety without it being justified.” These scientists represent a growing body of experts that can not be dismissed as “climate deniers.” The science is there; it simply has not been adequately reported.
Global warming is a fact. The belief that minute quantities of CO2 in the atmosphere is the cause of global warming is simplistically inaccurate. Efforts to control global warming will result in frustration and failure.
Federal and state leaders should be focusing resources on the reality that “super” storms will likely increase in frequency and size, and sea levels will rise with the melting of Antarctic and Greenland ice fields. Decades of planning and construction will be necessary to protect the coastal cities of the nation.
The Dutch are a good model to follow, as a significant percentage of that country is below sea level. The Dutch took 50 years to design and construct a storm protection system that protects their vital interest from a 10,000-year event. The design criteria for flood control and shore protection in the United States is based on 100-year storm frequencies.
Rising sea levels need to be addressed to protect our coastal cities from disasters. We would do well if a comprehensive plan addresses sea level rises of one, two and even five feet over the next century, and abandon impossible efforts to “control the climate.”
The writer is a retired engineer.
Parents must fight core education standards
Re the Sept. 9 article, “School testing: More families saying ‘no’ ”: It is not enough to simply opt kids out of high-stakes testing. Families need to start saying no to federally mandated standards that provide minimal college readiness.
Opting your child out of standardized testing may make a statement and relieve the unnecessary stress placed on your child, but it does not alleviate the problem.
Our teachers are now required to conform instruction to new federally mandated Common Core Standards. Teachers are forced to implement changes whether they feel they are in the best interests of your child or are better for your particular school district. Regardless of whether your child takes these tests, their teacher must spend months preparing for them. Their jobs now depend on it, since student scores are tied to teacher evaluations.
Currently, only the Grade 3-8 math and ELA [English Language Arts] assessments have been aligned with Common Core Standards. For students opting out of those tests, there are minor consequences. However, starting with the ninth grade class this year, scores will determine what kind of diploma they will earn. This is the first year that the algebra Regents will be aligned with Common Core Standards. If their results are similar to last year’s eighth-grade math assessment, more than 60 percent of the state’s students will fail.
The state Education Department is giving these kids the option to take both the new Regents aligned with Common Core and the old, standard Regents. They will keep the higher score. However, teachers are newly required to align instruction with Common Core, so it is likely they will not be well-prepared for either test.
There is currently a bill in the state Assembly that will halt the implementation of the Common Core Standards in New York. It has received the support of Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, but there needs to be accompanying action in the Senate. It is time for families to educate themselves on the issues surrounding the implementation of Common Core Standards as well as the standards themselves.
Are they really any more more rigorous? Or did someone just change the test midstream to get the results they intended, to justify the billions of dollars spent to implement Common Core? Contact your legislator to voice your concerns.
The writer is a member of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Parent Advocates Concerned Over Common Core.
Earth doomed by selfish attitudes of polluters
I truly feel sorry for people like John Gaetani [Sept. 7 letter].
I am a scientist, a geologist in fact, and this gentleman should stick to accounting — especially if he gets his information from the History or Discovery channels, which present programming more about entertaining and promoting an agenda than presenting accurate information about any topic.
I am employed as an environmental consultant, specializing in remediation of hazardous waste sites and development of water resources. I do not wish to opine on the climate change debate, because Mr. Gaetani is correct in one thing: Climate has always changed, and always will. However, we have not even come close to “cleaning up our act” when it comes to cleaning up the environment.
Many polluters continue to pollute and hire lawyers to find loopholes and other means to avoid environmental regulations and pollution laws. We are still dumping waste into rivers, streams and oceans — a practice that remains unabated in most Third World countries. And we refuse to consider even a modest reduction of our energy use, because it “infringes on our individual liberty.”
As for CO2 [carbon dioxide] not being an issue? Just ask ocean scientists about the observable fact that ocean life is quickly being wiped out by ocean acidification caused directly by CO2 from human pollution. Or the numerous sea birds in the Pacific slowly starving to death because their stomachs are filled with the plastic waste floating in our oceans, a situation that may lead to the extinction of numerous species.
A third-grader will tell you we need CO2, but the grad student will explain that the atmosphere needs to be in balance for us to survive, and our pollution continues to tip that balance against us.
I am sorry that “progressives” want, for the benefit of all, to control your ability to wreak havoc on our planet by trying to keep you from polluting and squandering, in your SUV, the limited resources we have left. I know that your generation is one of the most self-absorbed in modern history, but perhaps you might take a moment to see beyond yourselves and actually acknowledge that your actions can, and do, have impacts beyond your own lives. Perhaps then we may have a future on this planet.
Great! Graffiti already mars new bridge wall
Two stars to the people who designed the new Western Gateway Bridge, and one star each for those who approved it.
Now that they have taken the view from us and added a concrete wall, we can read graffiti. Thank you.
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