Letter: Two dire feedback loops amplify global warming – The Mercury News

Two dire feedback loops
amplify global warming

Two devastating feedback loops amplify global warming.

The burning of fossils fuels is the primary cause of CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere and global warming. Warming is exacerbated by two often concurrent and, until recently, unappreciated feedback loops. In the western United States, each loop can add 5 percent to 10 percent to baseload emissions. Both cycles begin when warming reduces rainfall and increases evaporation, causing drought.

Loop 1: Drought dries out vegetation and heats the earth, triggering wildfires. Wildfires release CO2, which produces more global warming.

Loop 2: Drought lowers reservoir water levels, reducing hydropower generation. Utilities make up for lost hydropower by burning fossil fuels, which creates more CO2, which produces more global warming.

The solution: Reduce the burning of fossil fuels by employing more renewable energy and placing a tax on carbon as suggested by the bi-partisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, recently introduced in Congress.

Douglas Merrill

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