Times editor asks, “Where’s the heat?”

The physics of global warming are relatively simple to understand – if you ignore the clouds of confusion

In last week’s issue of the Times we carried a letter to the editor from Jim Lamberton (aka the Rambling Man). Not surprisingly, he took issue with some editorials we had printed in favor of a global carbon tax.

He also voiced some complaints about the new roundabout on Highway 5.

Jim, Jim, Jim. How many times do we have to explain to you that the physics of global warming are relatively simple to understand – if you ignore the clouds of confusion being emitted by some in the oil, gas and coal industries?

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing every year. It is now more than half again what it was before the Industrial Revolution. According to National Geographic, the level now is higher than it likely has been for at least 3 million years.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. That means it acts like the glass on a greenhouse – visible light from the Sun passes through to the inside but infrared heat radiation from the inside can’t get out.

A similar mechanism happens when a person leaves his or her car out in the sunshine on a summer’s day. The air inside of the car get many degrees hotter than the air outside.

If the extra carbon dioxide in our atmosphere put there by human beings is not causing global warming, then where is the extra heat trapped by that additional carbon dioxide going?

That’s a simple question but one that the global warming deniers have spectacularly failed to answer.

Lamberton wrote, “Your so-called climate scientist James Hansen is just another lobbyist wanting to make a living without having to work, and another author trying to sell a book.”

The Rambling Man contradicts himself. Writing a book is a lot of work. Just ask anyone who has ever written one.

Being a climate scientist is also a lot of work, and Hansen is not just any climate scientist. Until his recent retirement, he was head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Now he is a professor at Columbia University. Neither of those positions go to people who want to make a living without having to work.

Another of Lamberton’s complaints was that he had brought in an article from another newspaper titled “Carbon taxes a war on the poor” and asked why it hadn’t been printed in the Times.

The fact is, people quite often bring articles from other newspapers for us to print, not realizing there are difficulties involved with copyright.

In this case, however, your editor did not feel the article justified spending time to see if a fee would be charged to reprint it or not.

The article’s writer failed to differentiate between B.C.’s carbon tax, and the modified cap-and-trade mechanism that the Pacific Carbon Trust is part of.

The provincial carbon tax works, is straightforward and relatively inexpensive to administer.

As B.C.’s auditor-general has pointed out, the Pacific Carbon Trust system is expensive to administer, so complex that few understand it, and does not work – basically what it does is take money from school districts and local governments and use it to give subsidies to private businesses. It is also totally separate from B.C.’s carbon tax.

The writer of the article appeared either to lack adequate knowledge on the subject to write an intelligent article or was wilfully presenting a misleading argument. Either way, the article did not deserve to go in the Times.

A global carbon tax as proposed by James Hansen is by far the best approach to control global warming.

The money collected would be distributed to everyone as a social dividend or basic income grant, which would be partial compensation for the risk to people’s lives and livelihood that global warming is causing, especially to the poorest of the World’s poor.

As for the roundabout – slow down, yield to vehicles already in the roundabout, signal when exiting, and watch out for those who don’t know the rules yet.


Give the roundabout a chance. You’ll learn to love it.



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