Handling the Heat

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"The Climate's Change Agent" [October 22] gives well-justified credit to Al Gore.

He is indeed the man who called the world's attention to global warming and the urgent need for change. But developed nations are shying away from the painful sacrifices that would be needed to slow down the release of greenhouse gases. Developing nations like China have made it clear that they will take even less action because this would interfere with their rising fortunes. We are going about this in ways that cannot succeed. The alternative to making huge sacrifices to stop greenhouse gases (an impossible goal) is to use technology to block some of the sun's light/heat energy before it penetrates our atmosphere. Such sun-blocking technologies have already been looked at but not seriously. Feasible sun-blocking technologies include: putting sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere; placing opaque shields in stable positions so that they remain between the Earth and the sun; and scattering floating stations designed to evaporate and vaporize water at various locations on the high seas to build up our cloud cover as a natural barrier. We had better begin studies and start implementing some of these sun-blocking technologies, because we are not going to succeed in stopping our emissions of greenhouse gases in time to avoid terrible damage to our world.

Alan M. Kohn


Palm City, Fla.  

Machiavelli once wrote: "One change always leaves the way open for the establishment of others." Let's hope Al Gore's mission is that sea change that we, and future generations, desperately hope for.

Vincent J. Hawkins


Claremont, N.H.  

Gore and his legion of disciples preach of a crusade against heat-spewing countries and companies that contribute to the evil of global warming. It is, probably, a righteous campaign that we will never see concluded in victory in our lifetimes. Too many countries, China and India among them, see the coal-and-oil-powered industry as the key to their emergence from 19th-century degradation. This is not simply a problem of global warming; it is a problem of global preference to accept the expedient path to progress rather than to work for the ultimate salvation of their grandchildren.

Wes Pedersen


Chevy Chase, Md.