November 17, 2011
Letters to the Editor: Global Warming
Chilly Responses to Prager’s Global Warming Comments
To agree with Dennis Prager that global warming “is a left-wing hysteria” requires ignoring more than 150 years of science (“Man-Made Global Warming: Why Many of Us Are Skeptical, Part 1 and Part 2,” Oct. 28 and Nov. 11). Global warming was proposed in 1896 by Nobel Laureate Svante Arrhenius based on physical principles discovered earlier in the 19th century, and in 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Scientific Advisory Panel warned of this science and its serious implications.
Prager says it is the “liberal media” that claims the “science is settled,” when actually it is the United States National Academy of Sciences that has concluded human-caused global warming is a “settled fact.” This is not belief; it is a conclusion from evidence, and there is not another theory that explains what we now see with our own eyes and instruments.
Prager insists the views of a single scientist (Richard Lindzen of MIT) falsify global warming, yet how can he know this, since by his own admission he doesn’t understand the science? Lindzen concludes global warming is real, that humans are causing it, but he suggests that impacts will develop slowly. The reason Lindzen’s findings are not influential is that in reaching his conclusions, he examined only a portion of available data.
Prager is a smart guy and could have figured this out; but he chooses not to so that he can make outrageous claims that solutions for global warming will “wreck our economy” when all major economic analyses say just the opposite.
The basic science is not that complicated. Just like adding a blanket on your bed, greenhouse gases are capturing energy that used to escape Earth. This same principle explains why Venus is hotter than Mercury even though Mercury is closer to the sun. Physical facts such as these lead 97 percent of climate scientists to sound the grave warnings Prager dismisses absurdly as “hysteria.”
Dennis Prager is an excellent radio talk-show host, but he continues unfairly to paint the political “left” as a monolithic group of Democrats whose agenda can be categorized with sweeping generalizations about its unworthy motivations. His recent discussion of climate change is a good example of his continued attempt to draw large and unsupported conclusions about those with whom he disagrees. By discussing nine so-called “untruths” that he asserts are purposely perpetrated by the “left,” he reasons that climate change as a condition exacerbated by human activity also is an “untruth.”
Even if we disagree about the magnitude of the impact of climate change, what do we have to lose by taking steps to correct it? If there is even a slight chance that the doomsday scenarios might be true, where is the justification for taking that risk, especially when the remedy would be, by itself, so helpful? By using less fossil fuel we will clean up the air (no one can argue with that), we will decrease our dependence on foreign oil (which is a good thing for Israel), and we will stimulate research, development and jobs in new and necessary energy industries. Compared to even a small risk of catastrophic consequences, the advantages of caution make a good deal of sense. So instead of demonizing the sincerity of those with whom you disagree, Mr. Prager, wouldn’t it be far more productive to look at the issue and the solutions, and then craft a policy that would be helpful to all? Clean air, diminishing the influence of oil-producing nations and maybe creating new jobs would do just that.
David A. Lash
Thank you Mr. Prager for directing us to the Wikipedia article, “List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming.” I do try and understand the right and so I looked at the article. However, it only served to strengthen my belief that global warming is a true cause for concern and it is man-made to a great extent. The top of the page lists the multiple issues the article contains, including the fact that its neutrality is disputed and a suggestion that it may contain “original research,” which is defined by Wikipedia as “material — such as facts, allegations, and ideas — for which no reliable, published source exists. This includes any analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not advanced by the sources.”
The facts about global warming are that the fossil fuel industry and the “deniers” retain far more profit denying the facts than scientist or green organizations get from stating the facts. This claim made by people raking in money selling fossil fuels, that thousands of scientists worldwide have conspired to concoct a lie for profit, is laughable. The EPA is under threat and conservatives think it is fine if we let corporations destroy our Earth unchecked. I may be wrong, but I doubt Mr. Prager would be OK with emissions from his car being pumped straight into his home, but we pump them into our collective home relentlessly. I don’t get it.
Joshua Lewis Berg