Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the global-warming debate.

The debate over global warming gets heated

In response to the Sept. 20 article, "Global-warming skeptics: Might warming be 'normal'?": It is a refreshing view as opposed to the "politically correct" view of the "true believers" that only man has caused global warming and man can reverse the process. Warming is obviously occurring, or Michigan would still be under a thick blanket of ice. The "true believers" fail to say what the ideal climate of the earth is: Was it the time about AD 900 when Vikings were farming in Greenland? Was it the Little Ice Age when Europe was measurably colder than now? Is it about four degrees Celsius colder than it is now? They seem to infer that the ideal was the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. Those who lived through the Dust Bowl in the American Midwest might disagree that this was an ideal climate. I expect that Russia would feel that a climate-changing Siberia from permafrost to productive farmland would be a great improvement.

Bob Munro
Incline Village, Nev.

In response to the Sept. 20 article on global warming skeptics: The article is interesting but leaves out much of the data that has been collected in support of global warming. While it is scientifically astute to be skeptical of early statements regarding complex systems that are only fairly understood, there is a significant amount of data that suggests humans are very much accelerating global warming. This data is not from one scientist but from many different unrelated researchers. Also, the major issue that seems to be ignored is the increase in population in addition to technology that allows us to produce more waste, cut down more trees, etc., in less time. Even with some skepticism about global warming, doesn't it make sense to work toward creating technology that has less impact on our earth?

Ben Rich
Bethesda, Md.

Regarding the Sept. 20 article on the opinions of global warming: While it may be possible that these so-called "skeptics" are ignoring certain aspects of climate science, the same can also be said about many of those, such as Al Gore, who adhere to the more alarmist view of anthropogenic global-warming. Many recent studies seem to be hitching onto the global warming bandwagon to explain their results (i.e., large decreases in the populations of frogs, bees, etc.), even though the link between global warming and the plight of these species is very tenuous. Such reports make the idea of anthropogenic global warming more frightening. More disturbing, though, is the notion among activists and politicians that "the debate is over" and we should accept their more alarming conclusions about global warming and start focusing on mitigation efforts.

Bill Fairleigh
Landing, N.J.

Regarding the Sept. 20 article on global warming: The Monitor has given entirely too much space to a minority viewpoint, one that seems more political than scientific. The article devotes an entire paragraph to mentioning icecaps on other planets. (And isn't Mars the only planet with a true icecap besides the Earth?) Just a little Web research would have revealed that the apparent warming reported on other planets is much more easily explained by regular seasonal changes and elliptical orbits than by atmospheric changes, such as those we are experiencing on Earth. Plus, if solar changes were causing any warming trends, massive changes would take place on all worlds across the solar system instead of only a few. I think the article illustrates how the naysayers only want to create doubt rather than refute science with better science.

Kendal Stitzel
Fort Collins, Colo.

Regarding the Sept. 20 article on global warming: Finally, some common sense in the global-warming "debate"! It is hard to deny that there are not extreme things happening with weather locally, nationally, and globally. This article has at last put some perspective on it. In private conversations, to suggest that global warming is not a scientific fact is heresy. The immediate assumption is that you are ignoring the obvious fluctuations in the environment by not jumping on the bandwagon that they are caused by man. The fact is that no one knows for sure what is causing these extremes, and certainly no one has definitively proven a causality with human progress. So why should we go to extremes in responding to phenomenon that we don't understand?

The opening lines of the article sum up my feelings. I have never been a hard-core consumer or conservationist and I see no reason to become one either. I try not to waste what I have and not use up more than I need. I am optimistic that human beings are given the capacity to figure out solutions to the problems that our previous solutions created.

Martin Fawls
Richmond, Va.

In response to the Sept. 20 article on global warming skeptics, I find it shocking that a news organization would, at this late date in the debate over global warming, provide a platform for so-called climate-change "skeptics." The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents the most extraordinary consensus ever achieved in the history of science. The latest IPCC report makes clear that there is near unanimity in the scientific community that human activities are primarily responsible for the accelerating warming of our planet. None of the arguments raised by the contrarians have withstood careful scientific scrutiny. 

I bet everyone quoted in the article, and most readers, pay for fire insurance for their homes, despite the very low probability of a fire occurring. Given the high probability that the vast majority of scientists have got it right, and we are at substantial risk of causing dangerous and long-lasting changes to our climate system, shouldn't we be willing to incur costs to ensure against the loss of much of the natural basis for our prosperity?

Leonard Sklar
Assistant Professor of Geology, San Francisco State University
San Francisco

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

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