By Greg Walcher, E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow
As Appearing in the Daily Sentinel

If I said my eyes have an optical power of more than 50 dioptres, would you say that is impossible? Or perfectly normal? Or like most people, would you ask, “What in the world is a dioptre?”

Context matters. In today’s often-contentious debates on environmental issues, context is essential. Without understanding the various measurements that are often cited, we cannot know what the statistics mean. Whether we hear problems discussed in terms of square miles, thousands of acres, or millions of tons, we should always ask, “compared to what?”

This week, for instance, there was another new study, now claiming the ice in Antarctica is melting, which threatens rising sea levels and worldwide flooding. It says Antarctica annually loses over 219 billion tons of ice. That sounds horrible, especially considering the perennial warnings of UN scientists that the seas could rise nearly three feet by 2100 if the world does not sharply decrease its energy use.

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