Issue Date: August 27, 2007
Rudy Baum is right on target with his editorial "Aspirational Goals" (C&EN, June 18, page 5). I am very glad to see an influential figure point out the tactics the Bush Administration has used to avoid taking on an important issue and to avoid facing facts that they deem unpalatable to their supporters in the oil industry.
At the bottom of the page is the disclaimer that "Views expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of ACS." I will be happy when the disclaimer can be removed from this plain-spoken citation of facts that, when considered in timing and context, cannot be disputed in content or intent.
This concerns your editorial, which urged the U.S. "to take concrete actions that will signal a commitment to deal with climate change." I'm appealing as a scientist, and I hope that you will consider what I have to say. I presume that you are a scientist and not simply a journalist. As such, you should be willing to keep an open mind regarding literature published by accomplished climatologists who do not accept anthropogenic climate change.
Global warming has occurred episodically for millions of years, long before man walked the Earth. It is futile for humankind to try to legislate its way out of global warming. Adaptation has been the key to survival for eons and will once again be humankind's salvation. We don't need government regulations that are tantamount to taking humanity back to 19th-century agricultural techniques and horse-and-buggy transportation.
Actually, legislation may be far worse than simply futile, because it will inflict harm on the global economy and hurt the people most in need. The very poor in the developing world will suffer most. The Kyoto protocol is a flawed political document designed to punish developed countries, especially the U.S. Its impact would be minuscule, even if all countries were in full compliance.
You ask to be forgiven for your cynicism that "the Administration's approach seems to have been designed primarily to undercut real progress on climate change." Personally, I hope your cynicism is well-founded. My concern is that the Bush Administration is kowtowing to environmental alarmists. Your cap-and-trade and carbon tax schemes will do damage without doing anything to solve the problem. The only thing such measures will accomplish is to make environmental ideologues feel as if they are really doing something beneficial for the environment.
I implore you to read "Unstoppable Global Warming" by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery (Rowman & Littlefield, 2007); "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by ex-Greenpeace member Bjorn Lomborg (Cambridge University Press, 2001); and "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism" by Chris Horner (Regnery Publishing, 2007). These may just save you future embarrassment. Perhaps you will avoid joining doomsayers such as Paul Ehrlich and Lester Brown in the pantheon of laughingstock prognosticators.
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