Let me begin by saying I spent the last four years of my life studying science for my bachelor's degree, with particular focus to the environment/climate change; so you could say that I've done some research. I was hoping that I could help clear up some of the points that Jim Zablosky kindly pointed out in his March 16 letter.
Let's start with the idea that "dumping tons of pollution into the air is going to have some negative consequence. Maybe that is true or maybe not." Unfortunately it's probably true. Here's a simple analogy: most scientists believe that smoking is harmful to your health. Cancer is a risk you take when you smoke. By burning fossil fuels and releasing other pollutants into the atmosphere, we took a risk. Now most scientists are diagnosing the planet with cancer, and our forests (the lungs of the earth) can't handle it. Fun fact: More scientists believe in climate change than in the idea that smoking is bad for you. Yet we put warnings on cigarettes and not on our gas tanks.
Secondly, the Earth is over 4.5 billion years old. Changes that occur in our lifetimes, and during the existence of humans as we know them, are utterly insignificant. Things wax and wane. The planet has gone through five major ice ages and five mass extinctions, and out of those 10 events, humans were only around for the last one, an ice age ending 12,000 years ago. The worry is that compared to all the trends before, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the rate at which the globe is warming is unprecedented. Short time spans are not an example of what the planet is doing. That would be like me saying I don't have any more loan debt because I got paid last Friday. I can assure you, I am still in the red.
Finally, $22 billion of our federal taxes may go toward climate change issues, but in 2014, $596 billion (17 percent of federal spending) went to the Department of Defense. That makes the cost of researching the global warming crisis 0.006 percent of the federal budget. But as the weather keeps getting more extreme and erratic, we'll need things like heartier crops and better community layouts. This isn't about money. This is about adapting, so that generations after us won't end up being the sixth mass extinction.