Letter to the Editor

Inaccuracies on global warming

Monday, October 15, 2007

To the editor:On Oct. 6 you published a column by Walter E. Williams titled "Global warming hysteria." I think readers need to be careful of their sources of scientific information. There are several points where current scientific thinking was not accurately represented.

Carbon dioxide is not claimed by climate scientists to be the only influence on global climate. Actually, many factors are known to have an effect. Among them solar activity, the location of the continents, other gases, water vapor, clouds and human-released aerosols.

Over planetary history carbon dioxide and temperature have not totally coincided. However, during the last 650,000 years, when continents have been approximately as they are today, a tight correlation has existed between carbon dioxide and temperature even as other influencing factors varied.

That the human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide is relatively small is irrelevant. The question is how critical this is to the overall budget. Economists should know that it's the small discrepancies between income and expenditure that are the ultimate difference between wealth and bankruptcy.

What has happened to carbon dioxide, temperature and life patterns hundreds of millions of years ago is hardly relevant to life today. The rate of changes that we are inducing is unprecedented.

Current research literature on polar bears reveals that they are desperately threatened by the shrinking polar ice packs.

When Williams bemoans the cost of reducing greenhouse-gas production and compares it to doing nothing, he fails to account for the cost of decimating our agricultural, forestry, fisheries and recreation sectors.