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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

Emergency Declarations are for Things That Can Be Changed

By John Harrington


November 26, 2019
Tuesday PM

Terri Robbins is “appalled” by DEC Commissioner Jason Brune’s statement at the AFN. Apparently the commissioner said, “that climate change is not an emergency in Alaska.” She even accuses him of potential “malfeasance of the most egregious kind.” Terri suggested that he consult with scientists.

Terri’s letter is political propaganda. It is like much of the discussion on ‘Global Warming’ that is reported routinely. It is heavy on half-truths and biased reporting. Like Teri’s attempt to silence the Commissioner, other attempts to silence dissent, and destroy dissenters is happening regularly. The lack of civility, and unwillingness to acknowledge differing data sets and opinions is typical of the anti-science approach to Global Warming theories promoted by the extremists. It is akin to those religious leaders of the past who relied on dogma and tried to silence scientific discussion.

Today I read:

“More than 200 people, including dozens of scientists, are in hiding right now in Germany. I am one of them. …the scientists will meet on Friday and Saturday to share scientific knowledge, ... The meeting, in which scientists will present evidence contradicting an asserted climate crisis, was scheduled to be open to the public, but fascist climate thugs have forced us into hiding.”

Also, recently:

Michael Mann of the ‘Hockey Stick’ fame lost his suit against a ‘denier.’ He lost the suit because he failed to disclose his data; a very unscientific action.

Another scientist was fired because he said that the Great Barrier Reef is not being destroyed. He thankfully, won his initial lawsuit.

At this point in my letter, it is appropriate that I should respond to Terri’s allegations and justifications for the letter denouncing the Commissioner.

Terri’s reasons:

1. “We just experienced the hottest summer on record.”

Yet we also have had huge sections of the country experiences record setting cold. Much of Alaska was warmer than Alabama a week or so ago. It’s called weather. Has global warming occurred? Yes! About one degree Celsius in the last 100 years.

• From 1850 to the present, the noise-corrected, average warming of the surface of the earth is less than 0.07 degrees C per decade.
• The rate of warming of the surface of the earth does not correlate with the rate of increase of fossil fuel emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere.
• Recent increases in surface temperatures reflect 40 years of increasing intensities of the El Nino Southern Oscillation climate pattern.

2. “Sea levels have risen, forcing coastal villages to relocate.”

True some villages are relocating. The most famous is Shishmaref. It’s located on Sarichef Island. Yes, the village on the ocean side of the island is being eaten away by storms. But the leeward side is growing. That is part of the life cycle of many gravel islands along the coast. To blame it all on rising seas is just wrong. The ocean has risen 3 to 9 inches in the last 100 years. Many places have a worse experience because of land subsidence (such as Skagway and parts of Florida,) and others have better performance such as Gustavus, where that land is rising.

Climatology professor David Legates stated: "The water has been rising for approximately 20,000 years and probably will continue."

3. Habitat for polar bears and other arctic mammals is disappearing at an alarming rate.

True, habitat is changing, sometimes very rapidly. The effect of that change is unpredictable. “Polar bears in the Chukchi Sea (the “western arctic”) have been thriving despite the dramatic decline in sea ice there, and so have the seals they depend upon for food (Crawford et al. 2015; Regehr et al. 2018; Rode and Regehr 2010; Rode et al. 2013, 2014, 2018). Barents Sea bears have been thriving despite an even greater loss of summer ice (Aars 208; Aars et al. 2017).”

4. The interior experienced devastating wildfires, as did south central and the Kenai Peninsula.

The same has been true for much of Western U.S. over the last 10 years. Weather patterns, insect infestations, government regulations and inaction, reduction in logging, and many other factors have contributed to the increase.

5. In our oceans, whales were dying in large numbers due to starvation, arguably caused by warmer ocean temperatures which killed off plankton and krill.

Temperature changes do indeed affect living things. Most threatened lifeforms will move, adapt or die. My observations over the last thirty-some years is that the humpbacks are thriving. What used to be only an occasional humpback sighting is now an almost daily one in the summer. If anything, the growth in humpback population locally is causing significant harm to the fishing and hatchery operations.

I realize it is hopeless to ask for a more civil, reasoned discourse. Yet, that is what is needed in our Community, State, and Nation.

The stakes are too high to allow the dogmatic, and the demagogue to control the conversation.

John Harrington
Ketchikan, Alaska


Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Received November 24, 2019 - Published November 26, 2019

Related Viewpoint:

letter Open Letter To DEC Commissioner Jason Brune By Terri Robbins


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