Mike Galvis, a fellow gym rat, asked a good question about climate science on Dec. 19 ("Friction or fiction?" Letters, The Aspen Times).
I'll paraphrase: What caused warming and cooling of the earth in the past, and why should things be any different now? The science says that the earth responds to whatever is "forcing" the climate in one direction or another.
In the past, ice ages and warming trends resulted from changes in the earth's orbit and axial wobble. Another well-understood forcing is the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which played a role in the ice ages, as well. Today, human emissions of carbon dioxide are by far the greatest, forcing well above and beyond what causes ice ages, the influence of sun intensity, volcanoes and other factors.
The science is so solid on why the earth has warmed and cooled in the past and why it's hotter now that even on the right the conversation has mostly shifted to the question of what we ought to do about it. That conversation would be good to have over beers.
Aspen Skiing Co.