Letter: Weather patterns brought on by human activity | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Weather patterns brought on by human activity

Three events have occurred recently that have disturbed me as a scientist, father and citizen. The global level of carbon dioxide reached a critical 400 parts per million (ppm) on May 7, 2013.

The Earth has not seen this level of carbon dioxide in 3 million years. Global CO2 levels had hovered between 170 ppm and 300 ppm for thousands of centuries until the Industrial Revolution, and then suddenly began to skyrocket. They had reached 317 ppm by 1958, and were up to 360 ppm by the end of the 20th century. This increase has resulted in increased warming of the Earth and dramatic changes to our Earth such as melting of the polar ice cap and the Greenland ice sheet.

In 1985, Greeley tried to ban drilling but the Colorado Supreme Court decided against it seven years later. Greeley is now ringed by 700 wells. In July of this year, Mineral Resources received initial approval to set up drilling operations (involving 33 new oil and gas wells) about 750 feet from Frontier Academy Elementary School against the objections of parents and citizens. As a father and chemist, I cannot understand risking children’s health with this type of toxic drilling, chemicals and carcinogens.

After a hot and dry summer, my hometown of Boulder and the surrounding area is experiencing a devastating flood. On Sept. 12, Boulder recorded 9.08 inches of rain, by far the wettest day in the city’s history since weather records were first officially kept in 1897. Climate deniers will talk about the meteorology of the event or that this was some type of cyclic event but I think just like Hurricane Sandy and the erosion of the Florida beaches, we are witness to weather patterns brought on by human activity.

Hydrocarbon mining and use are creating increased risk both locally and globally. Government and corporate complicity is destroying the concept of local rule while “split estate” law has destroyed the idea of personal property rights. Government has become lazy by accepting this new form of bribery through leasing and is failing in its responsibilities to maintain a healthy, renewable environment.

Tom Rutledge

Glenwood Springs

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