By Paul deWitt

Do you have a point you’d like to make or an issue you feel strongly about? Submit a letter to the editor or a guest column.

I am pleased to know that the new owners of The Bulletin, in the words of Steve Forrester, president and CEO of EO Media Group, believe “The environment and climate change are the primary issues of the 21st century.” I can sleep better now that I don’t have to worry about the threat of radical Islam, a resurgent China or the destruction of American culture by the left. Clearly, climate hysteria has reached new levels since AOC introduced her Green New Deal and has infected the purchasers of The Bulletin. What they and climate alarmists have in common is the misguided belief that humans are the cause of climate change and carbon dioxide (CO2), a mostly harmless by-product of human activity, is the chief cause of global warming.

Let’s get one thing straight: no one doubts climate change. We who are skeptics on the alarmist view of climate change are tarred as flat earthers, disputing the fictional 97% consensus about climate change and global warming. We are accused of denying science and the need to do something before the environment is irretrievably damaged.

Some relevant facts about the climate:

• Humans emit about 10 gigatons of carbon (GtC) into the atmosphere each year as carbon dioxide. In contrast, Mother Nature contributes 200 GtC from her oceans and biosphere. That makes the human contribution of 5% hardly worth mentioning. One GtC is 1 billion metric tons of carbon.

• CO2 is beneficial, not harmful. It is the “gas of life,” without which plants could not grow, and we would not have anything to eat. We learned about photosynthesis and the carbon cycle in high school biology classes. Most of the greenhouse effect is caused by water vapor.

• The current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 415 parts per million (ppm). That is well below optimal for agriculture. Anything less cuts into food production. Greenhouses maintain 1200 ppm as optimal for growing such crops as tomatoes.

• In the ice core temperature reconstructions from Greenland and Antarctica covering half a million years, Al Gore correctly shows a strong correlation between CO2 and temperature. But he fails to mention that temperature typically leads CO2 by centuries. That says that warmer temperatures cause more CO2, which is the opposite of what Gore wants people to believe.

• Temperatures during previous warm periods, such as the Minoan, Roman, and Medieval, were higher than during the current warm period, because of an advancing Milankovitch (orbital) cycle that now has our closest approach to the Sun during the Northern Hemisphere winter. All of the warm periods during this Holocene Climate Optimum saw higher levels of human progress than the intervening cold periods.

• Since the Super El Niño of 1998, there has been no net warming. In fact, some scientists suspect we may have topped out the Modern Warm Period and could be headed for another Maunder Minimum of sunspots that characterized the cold period during the 1600s.

• Climate models that predict substantial global warming have abjectly failed to reproduce the behavior of our climate over the last two decades. Despite steadily rising atmospheric CO2, the global temperature measured by NASA satellites continues to show strong seasonal cycles and a strong response to sea surface temperatures but little overall trend. That means that ocean cycles, not CO2, are driving the global temperature over decades, while solar and Milankovitch cycles take charge over much longer periods.

Is it important to practice energy conservation and to protect the environment? Of course! But we must be sensible about it.

We need to recognize that human activity plays a minor role, and our attempts to manipulate CO2 and climate will waste valuable resources that could be better applied to dealing with actual problems, not those in the fevered imagination of the climate lobby. Rather than promoting climate alarmism, The Bulletin should listen to the climate experts who understand the science of climate change.

— Paul deWitt lives in Bend.