Letters to the Editor

Letter: Wildfires

Joseph Addonizio’s letter (June 3) challenging Rocky Barber’s article on sage grouse (May 16) is an insult to both reading comprehension and science. While I’ll let the fire scientist untangle the inaccuracies presented by Mr. Addonizio regarding fire behavior and numbers, I would like to correct his opinion that human CO2 contribution is “paltry.” Mr. Addonizio is correct that human CO2 contribution is approximately 3 percent (and rising). His correctness ends there. Prior to the industrial revolution, atmospheric CO2 remained in quite a steady state. The CO2 emitted yearly by the atmosphere, oceans, soil, plants, and animals was equally absorbed.

However, with the advent of fossil fuel burning and land-use practices such as forest clearing (which I presume would be favored to “government mismanagement of our land”), CO2 emissions to the atmosphere are outpacing absorption. The effect is cumulative. Atmospheric CO2 is at its highest level in 15 million to 20 million years. A natural change of 100 parts per million of CO2 would normally take 5,000 to 20,000 years. The earth’s atmosphere has seen an increase of 100 ppm in just the last 120 years. When assessed critically and lacking bias, there is nothing paltry about human CO2 emissions.

Scott Hauser, Boise