Letters in the editor's mailbag.
Global warming is political
In Bob Doppelt's April 28 op-ed column promoting his job with the University of Oregon "Climate Leadership Initiative," he states, "Global warming remains a politically divisive issue."
He then accurately reports the issue as having "believers" and "deniers" that can be profiled along Democrat-Republican party lines. The reason for this division is because global warming really is - as Doppelt further demonstrates - a political issue, rather than any type of "scientific consensus."
Doppelt claims that "few credible scientists today deny the Earth is warming." In general, that might be taken as a true statement. He then flatly asserts, "the human emission of greenhouse gases is the primary cause of today's warming." Pure politics!
Where does Doppelt get these "facts?" Al Gore or Ted Kulongoski? Other Democrats? I'll bet there aren't many Republican scientists or politicians who would dare make such debatable assertions. As a forest scientist long familiar with the issue, I personally take strong exception to this statement - of course, I haven't voted Democratic since Kennedy, and am not paid to state otherwise.
The important fact missing in this long-running political debate is that global warming is vastly preferable to the human race than global cooling. People prefer vacations in Hawaii to the Arctic for lots of good reasons. Ice ages are harsh on most life, not just humans.
If people can actually control "climate change" with light bulbs, automobile purchases and dairy products, as Doppelt insists, then that is great news. Warmer really is better. For everyone.
Start calling it `climate crisis'
According to the Environmental Protection Agency's"Kids Site" (epa.gov/climatechange/kids/gw.html),?"Global warming refers to an average increase in the Earth's temperature, which in turn causes changes in climate."
And yet, when it snows in the United States, literal-minded people such as Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck say,"where's your global warming now?"
So in the interest of making it easier for folks to understand, the media should change the term "global warming" to "climate crisis" and each time explain how the warming of the Earth's gases is causing changes in climates all over the world. The recent snowfall in Eugene in April could be an example.
Society has had ample warning
Jonah Goldberg's April 27 opinion that environmentalists want collectivism is typical of the conservative response to global warming.
They first deny the problem and then resort to name calling. A few flat worlders out there (probably paid by ExxonMobil) still spread doubt, but the vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is happening and is human-caused. These scientists agree that world's governments must forcefully address this crisis, with the sacrifice and resolve normally reserved for war.
If not, we will see catastrophic increases in temperature and the displacement of hundreds of millions of people. This will cause massive starvation and many actual wars.
Environmentalists have warned of warming and the peak oil crisis for decades, and if the car makers had listened, they would have built more energy-efficient cars in anticipation of today's high fuel prices. Instead, the car companies have exacerbated the problem by advertising to convince people that they need bigger and more powerful vehicles, because they are more profitable.
American car companies may not survive their short-term greed and lack of foresight. The same is true of our capitalistic system of governance. We will be forced to reduce our greenhouse gases when fossil fuels run out, but it would be better to change our collective understanding and behavior, through education, before the environment and society collapses.
Most people realize our market-driven system needs regulation and long-term planning. Good science, leadership and planning for the future is smart and democratic.
People need to think things over
With all due respect to recent letter writers,making soldiers feel better about what they've been called upon to do is a lousy reason to continue an ill-conceived war, and a week of unusually cold weather is a lousy reason to denounce the theory of global warming.
Shortsighted deny climate crisis
I have just read another letter to the editor pooh-poohing global warming. It is my opinion that these people and our supposed leaders in Washington, D.C., are suffering from the same disease: shortsightedness!
Forget looking out the window and seeing snow. Forget the flawed research. Just look at the pictures of retreating glaciers.
The loss of glaciers in the Andes mountains in South America is threatening the water supply for millions of people. Their only water supply! Look at the pictures of the retreating polar ice caps. Ask a polar bear about its threatened habitat.
Look at the pictures of the starving people, especially the children, in Africa, where they are suffering from several years of drought. Hello! One picture is worth a thousand words. Anyone who has lived in Oregon for more than a few years knows we can have winters like this.
It's about one thing: science
In response to Ron Richey (letters, April 21) and Dan Schmieding (letters, April 23) on global warming, it's unfortunate that, given the catastrophic consequences climate change will bring, there remains such misunderstanding about the issue.
Global warming is an increase in the average surface temperature of the Earth over an extended period. The atmospheric conditions outside our door is the weather. The two are not the same.
And certainly, conclusions concerning the validity of global warming cannot be based solely on a short period of local weather. Additionally, while there are those who fear that to overcome climate change we will have to retreat to the dark ages, nothing could be further from the truth.
All experts agree that new and advanced technologies are the only hope of lessening our carbon contributions to our environment. Also, some would have us believe that accepting the facts of global warming is a liberal or emotional reaction.
Global warming is about one thing only - science - and the science is clear. Peer-reviewed study after study all come to the same conclusions: the Earth's climate is warming, and a great deal of that warming is human-caused.
Global warming and the resulting climate change are far too serious an issue to leave to opinion and emotion. It is imperative that for the sake of our children and grandchildren we educate ourselves with legitimate science from legitimate scientists, and then act aggressively to correct the problem.
Carbon dioxide is hurting oceans
In his April 24 letter, Frank Williams questions the methodology of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and concludes that drastic action should not be taken now to avoid possible worsening climate change.
Even if there were no connection between carbon dioxide and global warming (though I think the vast majority of climate scientists believe there is), there is another, perhaps more disturbing phenomenon occurring: acidification of the oceans. A large portion of the carbon dioxide we spew into the atmosphere actually ends up dissolving in the ocean, and in any biological system, when you add carbon dioxide, you form carbonic acid as carbon dioxide reacts with water.
There is now irrefutable evidence that the pH of the ocean is indeed falling, and that this is harming ocean ecosystems. Coral, seashells and many types of plankton all require calcium carbonate for their formation, and when you increase the acidity of the ocean, calcium carbonate cannot form. This will lead to huge die-offs of ocean life, which in turn will affect ecosystems and food supplies worldwide. The time to act is now.
Don't legitimize climate critics
Publishing letters claiming "there is no climate crisis now" that are premised on an outlying "conclusion" that is at odds with the overwhelming consensus of scientific opinion and measurable phenomena adds nothing to the public discourse.
One outlying opinion does not counterbalance the consensus view; but giving voice to an opinion that lacks credible foundation does run the risk of creating a fiction that there is legitimate debate on an issue. That fiction gives solace (comfort in numbers) to those who choose to keep their heads firmly planted in the sand by legitimizing an invalid conclusion. We cannot afford such folly on climate change.
The verdict is in: Climate change is real. Even President Bush has given up on this argument! We are causing it. Only we can fix it. We have a moral obligation to take personal and societal responsibility for the very real risk that we have created for our children, grandchildren and civilization itself.
Unless The Register-Guard wants to rehash topics such as whether the Earth is flat or if the Holocaust occurred, it should ignore the red herring of whether climate change is real and focus on issues worth debating, like how to fix climate change. Our president has proposed a breath-takingly inadequate strategy that has once again made us the target of derision by any rational member of the global community. I suggest reading Lester Brown's "Plan B 3.0" for a more legitimate approach.
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|Title Annotation:||Letters Editorial|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Apr 30, 2008|
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