Many people do not believe that carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuel will lead to dangerous global warming, Professor Jonathan Sharp (“Climate change deniers don’t understand carbon, April 12) dismisses them as “climate change deniers,” without identifying the “climate change” that he is talking about. Satellite measurements show that there has been no net global warming for more than 17 years. Professor Sharp argues that unless energy use is regulated, the CO2 released thereby “will make the Earth highly undesirable for human habitation.” He concedes that “atmospheric CO2 was at a much higher level in the distant past,” but makes the wildly inaccurate claim that “the surface of the earth was not [then] inhabitable by life.” Dinosaurs, birds, mammals and flowering plants all evolved in the past 250 million years when CO2 levels almost always were higher than they are today.
Corals, shellfish and other marine life also flourished through the many millions of years when CO2 levels were “much higher” than they are now. It is not credible to claim that ocean chemistry is “precariously balanced” and threatened by the much lower CO2 levels that we observe today. Alarmist speculation is no reason to stifle our economy by regulating people’s access to fossil fuel.