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Climate-change legislation

October 16, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 42

Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-Calif.) Safe Climate Act proposes to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 oC, and Sen. James Jeffords (I-Vt.) has introduced similar legislation (C&EN, June 26, page 8).

While greenhouse gases may promote global warming, we must remember that our planet has gotten into and out of several ice ages with no human intervention whatsoever. New York's Finger Lakes, for example, are lasting proof of just how far south the glaciers once were. Preindustrial Greenland, on the other hand, was sufficiently warm to invite Viking settlers. Waxman and Jeffords may well be arguing with the sun itself, as solar activity plays a major role in Earth's climate. If so, their legislation will be about as effective as King Canute's legendary command that the tide should not come in.

Furthermore, noting that places like China have no obligations whatsoever under the Kyoto treaty, expensive carbon dioxide regulations will not even get rid of the carbon dioxide, the CO2 will simply move offshore (along with the jobs that go with it). American chemists who enjoy their white-collar jobs and take pride in the high wages of their chemical-worker employees should remember that most forms of chemical manufacture are energy-intensive and that the chemical engineers who design those processes are already trained to make them as efficient as possible.

William A. Levinson
Wilkes-Barre, Pa.


Ballots for the American Chemical Society's fall 2006 national election were mailed to members on Sept. 25. If your ballot (mailed in a white envelope with a red banner marked "Urgent Official Election Ballot Enclosed") hasn't arrived yet, you may request that a duplicate ballot be sent to you by calling VR Election Services, Customer Service at (800) 218-4026, Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM-5 PM central time, no later than Oct. 27. You can cast your vote electronically or by traditional mail-in ballot. The voting deadline is close of business (5 PM CT), on Nov. 3. Election information on all candidates can be found at


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