Letter to the Editor

Public has right to doubt effects of voluntary effort

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

To the editor:

Both the Southeast Missourian and the Bush administration seem grudgingly though unconvincingly to acknowledge that greenhouse gas emissions are a problem, but neither seems to understand the issue.

Though you sneeringly argue as though it is just environmentalists who are concerned about the problem, actually the concern was initially raised by researchers studying climate. Their results then raised the concern of ecological and human-health researchers who quickly recognized its potential seriousness and alerted the public. Among these experts there exists no significant dissent about the serious potential consequences of global climate change.

Only after scientists raised awareness and voiced concerns did the public and environmentalists become involved. Given our collective recognition that global climate change is, indeed, occurring, surely we should address the problem not just continue to take profits, rely on volunteerism and play games.

What has corporate volunteerism brought us? For decades the tobacco industry lied about the health effects of their products. Enron executives just bilked both employees and investors to feather their own nests. The U.S. auto industry refused to increase fuel efficiency while attempting to suppress fuel-efficient technologies. In Missouri, confined animal feedlot operators have polluted our streams while denying culpability, and Doe Run has turned the community of Herculaneum into a health hazard while amassing one of the worst track records for violating environmental regulations in the nation.

The public has every reason to doubt the effectiveness of a program based on the voluntary efforts of corporate America.

ALAN R.P. JOURNET

Cape Girardeau