Letters to the Editor about global warming
A special collection of letters on the global-warming debate.
Readers eye climate-change debate
Regarding the Monitor series, "Global-warming skeptics: a closer look": The sunspot argument is far more persuasive than the man-made CO2 argument. While it is true that correlation does not equal causation, it is even more true that noncorrelation does not equal causation. Man-made CO2 emissions do not correlate well with observed global temperatures; sunspots do. One suspects a herd mentality is preventing many scientists from rejecting the familiar and accepting the obvious.
David R. Snyder
What criteria – other than the ultimate rise in maximum projected Earth temperature of about 7 degrees C by 2100 – would convince mankind of the anthropogenic contribution? What would cause humans to change before we reach the point when it becomes irreversible?
If the projected increase in greenhouse gases (GHGs) is greater than what has been found in more than 600,000 years, then we should try to avoid the environmental condition that existed before we inhabited the planet. Considering that the atmosphere would be continually adjusting to the increased, probably doubling of, GHGs to achieve chemical equilibrium, we have no evidence that we could adjust to the new atmospheric chemical equilibrium. It would appear logical to pursue a path that would slow the chemically changing atmosphere. Especially in the United States, we could easily do what is more efficient and, individually, reduce the wasted 20 percent of our energy use.
Joseph L. Goldman
There's no doubt in my mind that burning fossil fuels has created some difference in our climate; however, I think the difference is minuscule in the overall scheme of things. The subject of global warming has been turned into a political football and it is pushed by entities that stand to profit from it.
If the issue of global warming serves as a rallying cry to unite nations to clean up our increasingly dirty and wasteful environmental habits, so be it. We will have done ourselves and future generations the favor of a lifetime.
Bonita Springs, Fla.
The skeptics raise persuasive points. Not only must the sunspots be considered, but also the Earth's internal ability to generate heat through plate tectonics resulting in seismic and volcanic activity. The Earth's systems are extremely dynamic, thus the inability to forecast with great accuracy next week's weather, never mind years in the future. In my humble opinion, "global warming" and "global cooling" are natural events, and if our climate ever became "static," then we would really need to worry.
John E. Dye
We know global warming is probably caused by greenhouse gases. Some say not. Let's curb the gases just in case, and the benefit will be much cleaner air and water. Isn't it worth doing it just for that?
Ray City, Ga.
Research in the mid-20th century said that we would be in a period of global cooling and even maybe an ice age at this time period. So here we are in the 21st century – and no ice age.
The Weather Channel can predict weather only out to a few days, so how are we supposed to believe global warming advocates when they say they "know" that within 25 to 50 years we'll all be living in a sauna atmosphere? There are just too many variables to take into account. The earth is just too big, and we are just too small, for us to make a prediction in the overall effect.
I vacationed at the Jersey shore for decades, and in two winters, 1976-77 and 1977-78, I saw saltwater freeze between the jetties. Everyone was saying we were in for a new ice age and "scientific evidence" presented in the media supported it. Now the scientists are certain of a "greenhouse effect," with equal certainty. I do not think that science has shown anything one way or the other.
Ronald C. Ruloff
The cosmic ray theory seems to fit so many diverse facts that it is becoming hard for me to think that other explanations hold water. Even very long timelines, extending to billions of years, seem to correlate the state of the planet with the average cosmic ray density coming both from the galaxy and from outside galaxies. It's hard to explain the correlations as coincidence, which, frankly, would be akin to winning the lottery a few weeks in a row.
Given that the oceans take about 800 years to reach thermal equilibrium, it does strain credulity that ocean temperatures (and hence the rise in level) is the result of activities that only started around 1850 and have become intense only in the last century. One would think that today's ocean temperatures have to be the result of activities that took place around 1200, well before the Industrial Revolution.
The Monitor's recent article on this subject referred to the possibility that sunspots are the cause and asked the question whether climate-change skeptics are ignoring strong scientific evidence. I cannot escape the conclusion that they are ignoring the evidence.
I attach a link to a paper by the Royal Society (an organization that is based in the United Kingdom, which is not only one of the oldest scientific bodies in the world, but also one of the most authoritative). The study reviews the data and concluded that, while sunspots do have some effect, they do not explain global warming.
Anyone interested in this subject would do well to review this paper: www.pubs.royalsoc.ac.uk/media/proceedingsa/rspa20071880.pdf
Manukau, New Zealand
We're like dangerous children with short attention spans, chasing the climate catastrophe of the month. We do so with such narrow focus that scientific credibility suffers along with those who have the most to gain from continuing development. We can test and explore a lot of information, and not understand what it means.
The hills of South Dakota survived the little ice age, the big droughts and fires of the last four centuries, and even the woodsman's ax. They don't seem to have cared if the planet warmed and cooled a few degrees, at a time when humans could not have made a difference.