Coal, gas and oil are toxic

fires Photo: Elaine Raines

Forum –

Garry Clifford is probably right in asserting that “climate does change and for anyone to say they know why is dishonest”. (Chronicle Forum, Feb 24)

I too wonder why misinformation is being peddled, as he puts it, but I wonder why he urges the media to bring rigour to debates on this topic when he misinforms us that “sea levels are falling”.

Data published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007 noted the trend, which during the 20th Century led to a sea level rise of 30cm.

It also noted that this trend has since accelerated.

Garry also contends that “there is no correlation between carbon dioxide and (global) warming”.

On balance, most scholarly articles written between 1980 and the present refute this

So too, by and large, does the Bureau of Meteorology.

That said, it’s probable that we don’t yet know such things as how the balance of modern agriculture and current rates of deforestation influence carbon sequestration, or the precise capacity of the oceans to sequester carbon, amongst many other carbon cycle considerations.

Garry’s assertion that “CO2 has only dipped below 400ppm twice in the past 600 million years” is wildly inaccurate.

In the 3,000 years before the industrial revolution, atmospheric CO2 levels ranged in the narrow band of 180 to 250ppm.

Historic variations may well have been caused by “volcanic degassing” and so on, mentioned by Garry.

However, the recent half-century rise to 415ppm, which also shows an accelerating trend, has been an excursion which is considered unprecedented by many scientists.

It has been overwhelmingly ascribed to human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels.

Regardless of all the above, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed what I think should be the nub of the matter: public health.

This is of paramount importance to any community and to any economy.

Okay, so I still use ICE technology for personal transport, and leave other carbon footprints on my path, but to me, coal, gas and oil are like tobacco, they really are toxic.

I’m addicted and I know I must quit, the sooner the better.

Email, Mar 6
Ian Thistlethwayte, Wyong