Thursday, September 13, 2018
Technology can respond
to world climate change
I have been a reader of newspapers for 85 years, since learning to read as a 7-year-old in Virginia where we got the Staunton News-Leader by U.S. mail Monday through Saturday. Today, as I have my morning coffee, I am thankful we have the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, where we get well-thought editorials from a balanced editorial board and a variety of viewpoints from columnists such as Bradley Gitz, John Brummett and selected national columnists such as Walter Williams and Paul Krugman.
We also get a variety of opinions in the Letters to the Editor section with writers such as Malcolm J. Cleaveland on climate change and the urgency to take action while there is still time to stop the deleterious effects of present practices on climate changes. Unfortunately, the president and many of his appointees to key posts either deny such effects or choose to ignore them. A great summary of the present situation with regard to climate change was given by writer Coralie Koonce in her letter of Aug. 9, where she states that in the overwhelming consensus of national and world academies of science, none dispute that man-made climate change is occurring.
I have argued we could overcome effects of higher temperature by technological change, especially in producing higher levels of food crops for a population expected to increase from present levels of 7.5 billion to more than 9 billion by 2050. Plant breeders and geneticists have been utilizing the increased carbon dioxide levels to increase photosynthesis and thus yields, and new gene-editing techniques offer other possibilities to increase yields by better water utilization and nutrient use by plants. With only limited new acreage becoming available and loss of acreage due to deleterious effects of climate change such as desertification, using all available tools to increase yields of food crops becomes imperative. We may see some shift to C4 plants like corn, but this is limited by diet preferences for C3 plants like wheat and rice. I don’t think we will be able to convert C3 plants to C4 plants by gene-editing but we should be able to increase yields of C3 plants by continuing genetic improvement with the help of gene-editing techniques.
Dr. Art Hobson explains well the science behind nuclear bombs, but I don’t find it very reassuring that civilization will survive atomic warfare and if the H-bomb is used, that may be the end of civilization. The recent meetings with North Korea seemed to have some promise regarding reducing chances of nuclear warfare, but this hope seems to be fading. It is still my belief that nuclear warfare is the greatest threat to civilization.
Was New York Times
piece really a plant?
About the anonymous essay published by the New York Times: This American believes Trump and his team are putting out fake news. Why would they do it? First thing is more misdirection. The other reasons are for his base to feel sorry for him that the big, bad Democrats are picking on the poor little boy. And also to make the Times look bad, because just like the Democrats, the Times is among his arch enemies.
And with this story as goofy as it sounds, it is something Trump and his cronies would put together.
Am I wrong? Maybe, but I doubt it. One thing is for sure: I believe this man is the most dangerous man that’s ever been put in the White House, to our democracy. Both sides of the aisle need to get together and start Article 25 on him, before he does something that can’t be fixed.
If there is someone in the White House writing these things, that person is a whistle blower and needs to come out. There is protection for that person, and God bless him or her.
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