It was very disappointing to see Cal Thomas’s climate skepticism column printed in The Advocate. Climate change is real, and it is a threat to Louisianan and the nation. Scientists have been able to demonstrate that Earth’s temperature is increasing, as are greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane.

By looking closely at the atomic structure of these gases, scientists have demonstrated that fossil fuels and other humans activities are a major source of these gases. By closely measuring the oceans, scientists have shown that sea levels are rising, and detailed measurements of Earth’s water bodies show that climate change is driving more water to sea and warming the water that is already there.

Examples of vulnerability to climate change can be found almost everywhere. Our country is protected by a string of naval air stations, such as the one at Belle Chasse, with fighter jets that can scramble on a moment’s notice to protect our skies.

Almost all of these stations are within a few feet of sea level and could be compromised by rising seas. The oil industry, a point of pride and jobs for many Louisianans, has vast resources on or near the coast, including refineries, ports, platforms and pipelines.

These assets are also threatened by rising sea and intensifying storms. The same could be said for cities across the nation that developed by the sea, including not only New Orleans, but also parts of New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles and many more. Changing weather patterns threatens farmers’ harvests, the productivity of fisheries and the insurance rates we pay on our houses.

While people can debate the pluses and minuses of the climate change agreement in Paris, and the people who helped negotiate it, it would be dangerously wrong to ignore the real threats posed by a changing climate to our state and our country.

Alexander S Kolker

coastal oceanographer

New Orleans