The Climate Change Debate
Is the earth warming ["The Future of Energy," April 2010]? Is the warming a result of mankind's use of carbon fuels? I'm not sure anyone knows. But the questions are moot. We in the United States are squandering gasoline and diesel fuel. Oil is not unlimited. We must use it frugally. In addition, importing such large amounts of oil from other countries is unwise—we just can't afford it. Actions that might be taken by those espousing man-made climate change, such as cap-and-trade, will increase the cost of gasoline and diesel, and that will be good for the U.S.A. Those fuels have been far too inexpensive for years.
DAVID BAILEY Bartlesville, Okla.
The science [of global warming] is not really in controversy. The theory has been well tested and is backed by empirical evidence. There are powerful forces at work that distort how science "works" for their own ends. Just as medical doctors rely on the work of many lab tests and the work of thousands, so do modern scientists. You wouldn't go to a witch doctor for cancer treatment, would you? What are the scientific credentials of the climate science critics? Have you reported on those? Not only is the empirical evidence rock solid, but the mechanism behind the theory has been well understood for decades if not longer. You owe it to your readers to not portray science as dueling opinions. One other question: Why don't you try to investigate the illegal activities done by the hackers who turned up some trivial E-mails?
J. SWEITZER Oak Park, Ill.
What's to debate? We all know to clean up after ourselves. Why [should there be] any different rule for us dumping stuff in the air around us?
RUSSELL C. LEFFEL Mission Hills, Kansas
The way to fix our energy problem and a lot of other problems as well is to put a big tax on fossil fuel-derived energy. Gradually raise the price so that, for example, gasoline costs about as much as it does in Europe. Give some of the money collected back to poor people who can't afford to pay the tax. The biggest problem, as I see it, is that Congress wouldn't touch it with a 10-foot pole. But that doesn't make this proposal unique; they can't do a good job on anything.
ALLAN REESE Kingston, Wash.
The reduction of global warming should be one result of environmental-righting efforts, not the focus; conservation and judicious use of all natural resources, including the variety of existing and developing fuels, should be the umbrella theme under which all efforts are enacted. Individuals must see, understand, and directly experience both the detriments and benefits to their health and economic well-being if and when we expect them to change their living habits. The world will not follow unless the United States leads by example.
JOHN CASTIGLIONE Corning, N.Y.
So why do we have all these young, naive people beating the drum against increasing CO2 when it is really one of the minor gases in our atmosphere and is necessary for all plant growth. It comes in several parts: People like to feel that they are helpful. It's a natural American gift. The politicians promote it because it gives them a crisis to take to the voters, showing that they are doing something. Colleges like all the research money they can get and pump up the need for more study. Also, the U.N. promotes it to expand its drive for One World Globalism and it is all regurgitated through our one-mind media promoting populist programs of little value. Before it is too late, make your own noise in Washington. Make them understand that we want nothing to do with demonizing CO2 and the associated devastating legislation. What is needed is less government and more economic freedom.
OLIN E. POTTER Waitsfield, Vt.
I was disappointed that the "Future of Energy" article dedicated very little attention to the future of nuclear energy, which by itself has a huge potential to mitigate climate change. Nothing was mentioned about fourth-generation reactors, new modular nuclear reactors, and spent fuel reprocessing. Nuclear power will have a very prominent place in the non-fossil fuel energy future of the world with a number of countries making large investments in research and construction of advanced reactors, including China, Russia, Japan, France, and India, along with others.
PHILIP CARLSON Middleton, Wis.
Our energy policies enacted by Congress have been heavily influenced by big corporations who, for financial reasons, do not want a change in our current usage. For instance, they have made it almost impossible to switch a car from gasoline to natural gas. Very expensive licenses are required by a business for each year and car that the business intends to convert. The actual conversion is not an expensive proposition, but the company doing the conversion has to cover all of the required licensing fees, therefore the cost becomes prohibitive to the consumer. Our elected politicians, if they had any backbone and wanted to do what is right for the country, could easily make it possible for cars to run on natural gas, of which we have huge, easily obtained supplies right in our own country. Bring the cost to convert cars to natural gas down and watch the supply points to "gas up" increase along with the demand.
BOB BERGSTROM Calabasas, Calif.
Climate change is a strong deterrent to developing a practical energy policy. The first step is to get rid of the concept that CO2 causes global warming. The ideological debate should be treated separately. Significant climate change on any basis is a matter of centuries. Effective energy planning and development is a matter of decades. On top of that there is no demonstrable proof that CO2 has any significant effect on climate, and considerable data to prove that it doesn't. Historical and geological climate change tracks closely with well-known natural causes, and ice core data show that temperature increases have always preceded increases in CO2 over the last 250,000 years. Satellite data show that there has been significant cooling over the last decade. Arctic ice has grown 26 percent since 2007. Antarctic ice is growing. Sea levels have not risen significantly for the last 40 years. Hurricane intensity and quantity have not increased. CO2 continues to rise while the Earth cools. I think we can afford to develop a practical energy policy during the next few decades without fear of going over the so-called tipping point.
DONALD G. EAGLING Danville, Calif.
Unfortunately, we are all biased in our thinking and distrustful of government and business leaders touting change. We don't seem to have honest brokers explaining what can be done and how we should go about creating a viable energy policy that we Americans can believe in and trust. Our country seems to me to be paralyzed by fear that we are being taken, deceived, and manipulated by politicians, special interests, and fanatics on both sides of the great divide.
NAZARIO A. GONZALES Los Gatos, Calif.