This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
This morning, preparing to eat breakfast and read the morning paper, I cleaned the ash from yet another wildfire off the table on my porch. I thought of the drought and how unusual Utah's weather has been these past few years. Then I read James Hansen's op-ed, "Welcome to climate change" (Opinion, Aug. 9), and the weather changes I was contemplating made sense.
Scientists like Hansen talk the language of mathematics: probabilities, bell curves, standard deviations, etc. The rest of us rely on what we are observing and experiencing.
The math and science confirm what we are seeing a warming planet with more extreme weather. And while the cause is not obvious to casual observation, the science tells us that these changes come from increasing greenhouse gases, primarily from burning fossil fuels.
But we can avoid creating an even warmer Earth, with its destructive consequences. There is a nugget of hope in Hansen's next-to-last paragraph, where he implores us to put a fee on carbon and return the proceeds to the American people. This fall, let's elect representatives who will respond to the changing climate, acknowledge the science and commit to solutions.
David S. Folland