If the scientists haven’t yet convinced you that man-made global warming is a menace to our planet, at least concede this: Basic reason tells us carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere can’t be good for anybody.
And the numbers don’t lie: Led by a small boost in coal burning by energy companies, the amount of carbon introduced into our skies rose 2 percent in 2013.
Coal used to be the way many homes were heated, until smart people looked at what was pouring out of their chimneys and changed to less damaging — and less expensive — alternatives.
But coal remains attractive to some utility companies. Luckily, most of the electricity produced up our way comes from unlimited natural resources, such as moving water and, to a much smaller degree, wind. Those can create energy far less expensively and far more safely than combustion.
Still, the rise in the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere after seven years of enforced, steady decline, is alarming. And it calls for action.
President Obama has called for a 17-percent reduction in carbon emissions between 2005 and 2020, and America would be wise to take the initiative seriously.
For some reason, media conservatives refuse to listen to the informed voices warning of calamity from avoidable carbon emissions. They reject the concept that humans are causing the crisis and that we can put the brakes on it with prudent practices.
This, of course, is just what their listeners, viewers and readers want to hear. We don’t presume to have more sway over this constituency than their compelling spokespeople, so we won’t argue the details of global warming. We’ll leave that to people like the learned Ray Johnson, who writes a regular Press-Republican column on climate change.
But it should be plain to anyone that a jump in carbon emissions into the air is harmful. It’s obvious that clear, blue skies weren’t meant to be tainted by soot.
So we hope that the latest carbon-dioxide numbers — which are linked to a rise in the cost of natural gas that has made coal a little more appealing, financially — are a temporary setback.
And the problem isn’t just with heating fuel. Cars contribute immensely to the pollution problems.
Over the years, there have been reports of powerful petroleum companies quashing efforts to develop vehicles that run on something other than gasoline. But more and more, we are seeing hybrid and alternative-energy cars being promoted. Word just came recently that a hydrogen-burning automobile is on the horizon.
Even with the slight rise in carbon-dioxide pollution last year, emissions in the United States are 10 percent below 2005 levels, and that is encouraging news.
It’s crucial to future generations that the scientists’ wisdom on this subject is not ignored.
Carbon emissions must be cut before it’s too late.