Sky isn’t falling
Mr. Braunholtz, in his March 12 editorial, got so caught up in his Bush-bashing rhetoric he distorted the facts about global warming and its current and future impacts on the planet. Henney Penney, the Greenland glaciers are melting and we are doomed! Mr. Braunholtz, the Greenland glaciers have been melting for more than 15,000 years, since man first set foot on the American continent. Thanks to this warming, the ice cap that covered about a third of the U.S. has been removed, and the alpine glaciers that filled all of our Rocky Mountain valleys have receded and allowed us to build our ski areas.
Hysteria about the impacts of global warming abound in an uneducated media and among politicians. Robert Kennedy Jr. flatly stated, “We now have the scientific tools to stop global warming.” Kennedy may think he’s God, but even HE might be appalled at the effort needed to stop global warming. John McCain, whose opinions I generally respect, came back from a trip to Norway and said he was shocked at how man was causing the glaciers to retreat. John, advancing and retreating glaciers formed the beautiful fiords before man had any impact in the area.
Mr. Braunholtz warns about a rise of sea level of six meters when the Greenland ice field melts. In fact, much of the Arctic ice pack lies in oceans. Any high school student (I hope) knows that when water freezes to ice it expands to a greater volume, and when it melts, the water (and ocean) level goes down.
Mr. Braunholtz’ editorial implies that the current increase in global warming is causing more extreme weather events such as hurricanes, drought, floods, etc. Historical data simply does not support this conclusion. Dr. William Gray, America’s most prominent hurricane scientist, is an ardent foe of the belief that global warming has worsened hurricanes. Records show that in the Gulf of Mexico there were more severe hurricanes in the first half of the 20th century than in the second half. A 200-year study of weather in the Bay of Bengal, the mother of all hazard-prone areas, showed that the total number of hurricanes (cyclones) in the 20th century was about half that of the 19th.
The increase in severity of current weather systems is apparent only because of population growth and development in disaster-prone areas. When you build cities below sea level there are bound to be some problems. We are not going to stop, or even slow down, earth warming in the foreseeable future, and money will best be spent in preparing for the impacts this will cause. This is not to say that we should discontinue efforts to clean up the atmosphere, but let us do it for the real reason: for our health and the future of our children and grandchildren.
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