LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
These letters published in the Feb. 13, 2022 print edition of the Las Cruces Sun-News
Natural forces, not capitalism, at play in sea level rise
Algernon D’Amassa’s, opinion piece, ‘How capitalism surfs the rising seas of human folly,’ is the product of an imaginative mind, schooled in Fine Arts, demonstrating creative writing skills, but unencumbered with knowledge of earth science and history.
We have sea level data and CO2 concentrations at New York City’s Battery in since 1856, when Franklin Pierce was President. The rate of sea level rise has not changed since 1856, giving strong evidence that natural forces, not capitalism, and increasing CO2 concentrations, cause the seas to rise.
In my Watts Up With That blog post I outline sea level and human history.
Sea levels were 400 feet lower than today 20,000 years ago, the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age. At that time the Wisconsin Ice Sheet covered New York City with glacial ice. The ice sheet then started, and continues, to melt; sea levels have risen in the centuries since. But the rise in sea level was interrupted by the Little Ice Age when sea levels fell.
In the Middle Ages Pisa was a powerful city-state. Maritime trade brought goods on ships into her port. Goods were taxed; the revenues supported Pisa’s reign as a military power. That ended in 1309 AD, the Little Ice Age onset, when sea levels fell, and ships could no longer sail to her port. Today Pisa is 7 miles inland from the Ligurian Sea. During the height of Pisa’s power sea levels were a lot higher than today.
The Little Ice Age ended about 160 years ago; tide gages show that sea level has steadily risen — with no correlation to CO2. Sea level is a dynamic property of Earth, not capitalism.
D’Amassa’s thesis that sea level rise is caused by capitalism is ignorant of sea level and human history.
Take forest management seriously
As we enter New Mexico fire season, I suppose it’s obvious, but apparently it needs restating:
Trees drink water to live. More trees require more water. Today’s tree growth on public lands in places exceeds 2,000 trees per acre compared to 200 decades ago. Even if we get the same rainfall as in the past, the increase in the number of trees guarantees that each tree gets less water than decades ago. Trees with less water are drier. More trees use more water, leaving less water to replenish aquifers. It’s not a climate change problem if it’s due to something else, like forest mismanagement. Even if the problem really is climate change, why would state water advocates permit 10-20 times more trees per acre to rob the state of its fresh water supply? Starving trees of water is unhealthy and can lead to damage, including insect infestation. Insect-damaged trees can die, leading to dead sections of forest that are easier to burn, leading to more intense wildfires.
Perhaps it would make sense to solve the problem of the tree overgrowth in our forests before blaming wildfires on climate change that may or may not be at fault.
Having two effects that could explain a single problem, but then ignoring the science to blame only climate change is unscientific and propagandistic.
New Mexico, and its forests deserve better. They deserve to be properly managed, like the Native Americans did hundreds of years ago through forest clearing. Forestry should go along hand in hand with proper forest management rather than being viewed as an enemy.
David Tofsted, Ph.D., Las Cruces