Readers on climate-change doubts
In response to the Monitor series, "Global-warming skeptics: a closer look": I think climate-change skeptics get more than a fair shake, even equal time. But this isn't a matter of "equal time." The overwhelming opinion of scientists worldwide is that the human side is pushing the change and the evidence is unequivocal. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is persuasive, but the press has concentrated too much on the reaction and too little on the substance and the consensus.
It's like a debate with Holocaust deniers. Do they deserve equal time? They may have some isolated evidence that questions pieces of the conventional wisdom, but is that sufficient to conclude that maybe the Holocaust didn't happen?
For a minute, I thought that analogy was extreme. But consider the effects of global climate change. Consider not just higher sea levels and warmer temperatures, which seem as if they could be accommodated over time, but also extreme weather. Consider drought emergencies, which curtail people's access to fresh water for even mundane chores. Consider the destitution of communities as people who can leave, leave.
But kudos to the Monitor for sustained attention to this critical issue. I'm reminded of God's promise to Noah. Are we Noah? What must we do?
I am a retired scientist and attended the annual American Association of the Advancement of Science meeting in San Francisco when the panel presented the result that humans contributed significantly to global warming. Like any real, nonpolitical scientist, I keep an open mind. But on this, I'm really skeptical.
For one, studies have found a correlation between sunspots and cloud cover. And because scientific models cannot predict cloud cover over a major river such as the Missouri, it is no wonder they cannot predict the river flow even one day in advance with any degree of accuracy. Global climate change must be predicted at least a decade in advance, so it strains credibility to think that global warming can be predicted a century hence.
In addition, the rise in observed CO2 levels can be the result – and not the cause of – warming. Until water vapor can be predicted as the most significant greenhouse gas, better models need to be developed.
And the correlation of clouds with sunspots needs to be explained first.
There is definitely media hype surrounding global warming, specifically the so-called expert interviewed, Stephen Schneider, who referred to a scientific consensus as evidence and even referred to man-made global warming as a "fact." Mr. Schneider should know that it was once "scientific consensus" that the earth was flat, and that the sun orbited the earth. Scientific facts are repeatable and demonstrable, such as water boiling at 212 degrees F. at standard pressures. It does it every time. The proponents of man-made global warming cannot prove their theory. It is my understanding that their models do not even account for precipitation, which has an enormous effect on the heating and cooling cycles of the planet. Science is what it is and is not governed by what you "believe to be true." The issue of man-made global warming is being used for political purposes and control.
Project geologist, Andreyev Engineering, Inc.
Cleaner air in Los Angeles is both good and bad news. Global dimming, caused by smog and particulate matter, brings a cooling effect as it creates a sunshade. Thus, smog balances the effect of greenhouse gases. As we remove the particulate pollution from the air, we need to remember that we also weaken one of the few mitigating forces of global warming. Ironically, cleaning the air contributes to the effects of global warming.
We need to do both, reduce smog and CO2 levels, to make real progress.
The skeptics of global warming do not want to give up the things that continue to create this catastrophe. They would rather drive their big gas-guzzling cars and continue a lifestyle of affluence and ease than take seriously the reality of the global catastrophe facing us.
This is an indication that many people in this nation do not want to make any kind of sacrifice for themselves, their children, and the population of the globe. Hopefully, they will wake up and change their mode of living before it is too late!
Chapel Hill, N.C.
I have been increasingly frustrated with the body of people who attribute global warming to normal natural cycles or deny it altogether.
Our society has transformed into one that relies on fossil fuels, which have altered our environment. You can see the changes in the smog sitting over cities, abnormal weather patterns, and higher water levels.
Yet this activity has increased our quality of life too, allowing the human population to grow and people to live longer lives. Natural resources cannot be replenished fast enough to keep up with human consumption.
The melting ice caps and other effects of climate change will change the face of the world as we know it and displace millions of people, because coastal cities will go underwater, droughts will prevent food crops from growing, and diseases will thrive.
But the real issue is that there is change happening, and we have to modify our activities to protect ourselves and future generations.
As a young woman just beginning my career after college, I would like to live in the world my predecessors lived in and be able to have a family one day, without worrying about the future sustainability of our planet.