Though Automotive News is not a scientific forum, I couldn't help but notice some serious scientific errors in Dan Wiese's June 20 letter headlined "Global Warming? Be skeptical."
I feel obligated to address them since they involve climate change, an area in which I have focused all my research efforts for more than a decade.
Wiese claims the earth isn't warming. That is simply not true.
Global mean temperatures, the most basic and obvious metric of global-scale climate change, have risen nearly 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit during the past century. That is significant because it is unusual in the context of natural climate variability and because it is global in scale.
Wiese says "mankind-induced global warming is absurd" because carbon dioxide, whose global concentration has increased nearly 40 percent since the beginning of the industrial era, constitutes such a small fraction of the total volume of the atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide and water vapor are the main agents responsible for the Earth's natural greenhouse effect, without which the planet would be some 60 degrees colder.
Water vapor and carbon dioxide make up a small fraction of the atmosphere, which is composed mostly of nitrogen and oxygen. However, they have a large impact on the Earth's climate because, unlike nitrogen and oxygen, they have a strong trapping effect on the heat emitted by the Earth's surface.
Reasonable people from a wide spectrum of political viewpoints may disagree about what - if anything - to do about global climate change. But its reality and human origin are difficult to refute.