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Larry Larsen, Mandan, N.D. , Published February 15 2014

Letter: Some possess a toddler’s sense of climate change

Only those with a toddler’s conception of science can seriously claim, “It’s really cold outside, thus climate change is a sham!” It is now winter in the northern hemisphere. When it’s cold in one part of the world, it can be hot in another.

While the United States had an unusually frigid January, with extreme drought on the West Coast, Australia has been sweltering through record-breaking heat. Narrabri, northwest of Sidney, hit 118 degrees last month. Last year was the hottest year in Australia since record-keeping began more than a century ago. On the global scale, 2013 was the seventh warmest on record, according to NASA and NOAA. Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2002.

Only one explanation fits available facts: The large-scale burning of carbon-based fossil fuels has increased the concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 40 percent. It is foolish to wager the near-unanimous consensus of climate scientists to be wrong. China, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is not going to shut down its economic growth, thus risking political instability. India is not going to abandon its quest to catch up with China. In Nigeria and Kenya, with huge populations, high growth rates, smokestacks are puffing away. In the Bakken, carbon-based natural gas is flared away 24/7. The United States, Europe and Japan will do what they can, without surrendering the comforts industrialization provides.

We must prepare for the environmental, political and military hazards of a warmer world, while finding a reliable way of producing electricity without burning fossil fuels. Is the future a hydrogen fuel cell in every home, business and car?