As printed:

Letter to the editor, Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2019


As submitted:

TRIMMED VERSION: Letter To The Editor of the WSJ

CO2 emissions don't affect sea-level rise

To the Editors:
Prof. Singer (May 16 op-ed) is right: CO2 emissions have no detectable effect on sea-level rise. (Note: there was a glitch in the print edition, corrected online.)
Profs. Dutton and Mann (May 22 letterclaim, without measurable evidence, that human-caused climate change raises sea levels.
Sea-level is rising in some places and falling in others. Globally, sea levels are very slowly rising, but “human-caused climate change” cannot be the cause, because the rate of rise is no greater now than when the first Model A rolled off Ford’s assembly line.
Since precise measurements began, mean atmospheric CO2 level has risen for 58 consecutive years, with no detectable acceleration of sea-level rise. Clearly, human-caused warming doesn't significantly increase the rate of sea-level rise.
Dutton and Mann also suppose the Antarctic Ice Sheet simply must lose ice in a warming climate, because of “basic physics.” That's also nonsense. Most of Antarctica averages far below freezing, so a few degrees of warming won’t melt it.
Melting decreases ice sheet mass balance, while snowfall adds to it, offsetting sea-level rise. Multiple studies confirm accumulating snow on ice sheets increases as the climate warms, the result of downwind “ocean effect snowfall.”

Compelling evidence shows global warming from fossil fuel use is modest and benign, and higher CO2 levels measurably benefit agriculture and natural ecosystems, outweighing hypothetical harms.
David Burton
Cary, NC
M: 919-244-3316
Thomas Wysmuller, Meteorologist,
NASA (retired)
Ogunquit, ME
Prof. William Happer (Emeritus)
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ


Here's a reference to the 58 consecutive annual increases in mean CO2 level (59 years of measurements):
Note that in Antarctica the ice mass trend is so flat that studies disagree about whether it is increasing or decreasing. Here's a NASA paper reporting the conclusion that Antarctica is gaining ice:
Other studies have reached the opposite conclusion, but they all agree that the trend, whether up or down, is so slight that it is affecting global sea-level by less than three inches per century.

There are three factors reducing ice mass of the Antarctic ice sheet (melting, sublimation & glacier calving), and only one factor increasing it (snowfall). Since the net ice mass trend is very close to flat, that means the effect of snowfall is approximately equal to the sum of the other three factors.

Did you know that Scientific American once called anthropogenic CO2 "the precious air fertilizer," because it is so beneficial to agriculture? They really did (nearly a century ago):


You probably won't want to use this, and that's okay, but I took a stab at making a graph which would still be legible when shrunk to fit in the 2" column width:

(click for the .png file)

Here's a prettier, online graph (same location & data, but larger format, in color, and with the regression done using only ninety years of data):

(click to enlarge)

(click to view graphs and data)