To the Editor:
With the flooding in Australia being described as “biblical” and a Congressman quoting scripture on the House floor and declaring his faith that God will not again destroy the earth, there is still clearly a need to clear up the understanding of global warming/climate change. The simple chemistry of burning hydrocarbons is that water, carbon dioxide, and energy (originally from the sun) is released into the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels is the release of water, carbon dioxide, and energy that have not been active on earth for millions of years. Coal has more polluting components than natural gas, but the central dynamic is the same.
A continually rising level of CO2 in the atmosphere holds in more and more heat which then warms the oceans and melts polar and glacial ice, adding more water to the equation. And not to be discounted is the addition of energy no longer buried deep within the earth. The vital, dynamic exchange between the oceans and the atmosphere is becoming increasingly energized. The occurance of unseasonal flooding, mudslides and severe weather is simply the earth finding a new equilibrium for these elements.
I would not like to say that we are now facing an angry, vengeful God (or gods), but the laws of physics are basically unrelenting and, like the people of Noah’s time, we are bringing this turn of events down upon ourselves.