Ignoring climate change is ignorance


A recent letter’s title (“Stop being so ignorant about climate change,” July 19) is an apt response to its own remarks. The author’s comment, “Like all information; garbage in-garbage out” also applies to his letter. The author’s answer to the research conclusions of the vast majority of climate scientists? Simply that “scientists lie.” Apparently, this gives him free rein to argue his points without a shred of scientific knowledge.

The letter suggests that ocean levels operate just like the water in a swimming pool; hence, we have nothing to worry about. Unfortunately, the ocean is a more complex body of water than a swimming pool. In reality, the ocean surface is quite irregular, with winds, currents and other factors leading to considerable variations in sea level from place to place. 

Scientific reports indicate that the global average sea level has risen seven to eight inches since 1900, and about three inches in just the past 15 years. Heavy rainfalls are increasing in intensity and frequency, adding to the potential for flooding. An example? During Hurricane Sandy, the combination of rainfall, winds and high tide led to flooding from the bay near my family’s Brooklyn home; waters crested at about four-and-a-half feet above the sidewalk. 

The letter’s author would prefer to live his life as if we weren’t on the cusp of significant environmental change. Even if increases in carbon emissions and global warming are halted, sea levels will continue to rise for some time. Houston, New York, Miami, Boston, New Orleans and San Francisco are just a few of the localities planning for this difficult future. Environmental events set in motion have no quick remedies, but ignoring the challenges will give future generations a far less habitable planet. 


Jay Paul