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In a Jan. 21 letter to the editor, Dr. Dave Klein professed his belief that climate change cannot be happening. Klein maintains that radiation from the sun warms our planet’s surface, but that energy absorbed by molecules in the atmosphere and radiated back to the planet cannot have the same warming effect. This is a bizarre position. If a photon from the sun can transmit energy to the Earth, then clearly, a photon absorbed by molecules in our atmosphere and radiated back to the surface can have the same effect. Klein dismisses such common-sense reasoning as a “phony concoction.”

Climate change is real and driven primarily by our use of fossil fuels. But you don’t have to believe me. If you prefer, believe scientists at NASA who write, “Most climate scientists agree the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of the ‘greenhouse effect’ — warming that results when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space.”

Or, believe Conoco Philips: “We recognize that human activity, including the burning of fossil fuels, is contributing to increased concentrations of greenhouse gas (GHG) in the atmosphere that can lead to adverse changes in global climate.”

Or, the leadership of Exxon Mobil: “The risk of climate change is clear and the risk warrants action. Increasing carbon emissions in the atmosphere are having a warming effect.”

The consensus is clear, climate change is real and its implications deserve our attention. 2017 was the third warmest year ever recorded, and 2016 was the warmest year ever recorded. In fact, we have not had a year with below-average temperatures in 30 years. Our planet is warming and the potential consequences are serious. But if you’re not convinced, perhaps you will believe the Department of Defense who writes that climate change will “aggravate existing problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions that threaten stability in a number of countries …” 

Simon Cecil