My Turn

Opinion: Global warming and the threat it poses

By Norm Ferguson, El Prado
Posted 11/28/18

Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that global warming is caused by human behavior. The burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal, natural gas and other carbon-based substances …

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My Turn

Opinion: Global warming and the threat it poses

Posted

Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that global warming is caused by human behavior. The burning of fossil fuels such as oil, coal, natural gas and other carbon-based substances increases the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

And, this buildup is not allowing heat energy to escape from the atmosphere. As the atmosphere heats up, so does the earth.

Evidence of this is the rapid melting of ice in the Arctic Ocean and Greenland. Since 1979, more than 20 percent of the polar ice cap has melted away. This melting causes sea levels to rise. Many small islands in the oceans have already been submerged by the rising sea levels.

And, the rate at which ice is melting and islands are being submerged is becoming more rapid. We need to curtail drastically the release of carbon-based substances into the atmosphere, and we don't have much time in which to do it.

We already have a solution to this perilous problem. It's called solar energy, and we know how to convert it into electricity.

The drilling of oil and natural gas wells should stop completely. This also includes fracking, a process that allows the extraction of oil and natural gas. Methane is released in the fracking process, and it is 25 times stronger than carbon dioxide in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere. Fracking should also be completely stopped.

Sadly, our country and many others value money over having a clean and healthy environment. This attitude, if it is not changed, will lead ultimately to the destruction of all human life on our planet.

Humans are highly visual animals: "seeing is believing". But what we can't see may, nevertheless, turn out to be deadly for humankind.

It's too bad all the hydrocarbons we are pumping into the atmosphere don't change the sky from blue to orange or some other noticeable color. Then we'd probably all agree that something needed to be done immediately. But, sadly, that won't happen.

We don't have 100 years to solve this problem. It requires immediate action, but most humans seem too caught up in their day-to-day activities to notice. We may be the first animal species to cause its own extinction.

Norm Ferguson is a retired teacher who lives in El Prado.

Editor's note: A coalition of federal agencies on Friday (Nov. 23) released the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which details the expected economic and environmental impacts of climate change on different regions of the United States. The report is at nca2018.globalchange.gov

The difficulty for New Mexico in moving away from oil and gas is that nearly a third of the state's budget relies on revenues from drilling and production. The state must find new revenue sources to replace those monies.

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