As suggested in Del Nord’s letter of December 23 (“It’s not natural factors”), the extent to which global warming is attributed to human activity is one of the most disputed topics in the climate change debate. In previously submitted letters, Del has argued that man’s continued reliance on fossil fuels has created our current climate crisis. In a rebuttal letter titled “Climate repeats itself,” (Jan. 2), M.A. Kaufman, stating “this warming can be partially blamed on humans,” goes on to imply that natural causative forces, which once determined the ebb and flow of climatic conditions, will again rule supreme with regard to climate change.
Two of the most recent government reports on climate change — the Fourth National Climate Assessment Report and the IPPC Climate Change Report — clearly uphold the viewpoint that the beginning of the Industrial Revolution ushered in a new era where fossil fuel emissions have become the preeminent force behind global warming. The FNCA report actually asserts that, between 1951 and 2010, human activity accounted for more than 100% of observed warming; they contend that some of the warming was offset by the cooling effect brought about by volcanic and solar activity. The IPCC report similarly argues that, taken in isolation, volcanic and solar activity would have resulted in cooling rather than warming over the same time span.
Obviously, we cannot idly stand by and hope that natural forces will prevail in our favor. Immediate and drastic action is needed if we are to “turn the tide” on global warming.