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Hot Air on Global Warming




I had to laugh, reading Mike Timble's inane, rambling letter [March 15] dispelling the "myth" of global warming. Here's a guy who is outraged that Ted Kleine ["Hot and Bothered," March 8] ignores important scientific "data" and "facts" to support the nefarious Chicken Little Global Warming Conspiracy--and he doesn't understand the first thing about how science works.

Sigh. Yes, Mike, there are a few scientists who don't think global warming is a reality, or who think that, if it is, it's not caused by human interference with the atmosphere--and when you sneeringly refer to the "tiny number of 17,000 scientists" who signed a petition disputing the existence of global warming, you just look stupid. In fact, 17,000 is a tiny number, compared with the vast numbers of scientists who disagree with them. Oh, and there's the embarrassing little fact that the "petition" you refer to, signed by "scientists," was discredited when it was discovered that it was not organized by climate scientists and signatories included a member of the Spice Girls and fictional characters from the TV show M*A*S*H. It's also interesting that the organizations promoting this petition include ExxonMobil and the Maine Oil Dealers Association--now, what possible interest could they have in the issue of global warming? (To find out more about this devastating petition, check out Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting's article at

Look, your blinkered minority of scientists do indeed have "facts" and "data" to support their position. And so do creationists, and people who don't think HIV causes AIDS. It's their interpretations of those facts that happen to be (probably) wrong. Fact: light behaves as both a particle and a wave. What that fact means--what explains it--is something else again.

Of course, you give away the game when you say, OK, assume global warming is for real (but why, Mike? It's a myth, remember?)--it's actually good for us! The reason? Previous warmer periods with higher CO2 levels saw human civilization's "greatest periods of growth and intellectual advances." Even assuming this were true, you'd have to be scientifically illiterate to believe that the advances were due to the warmer climate. They might have been, but, again, you'd have to explain why. Not to mention that current computer models show direct correlations between increased global warming and increased incidence of disease and drought. You'll probably be OK though, Mike--it's mostly those pesky brown folks in the third world who'll suffer.

Integral to the practice of science is the willingness to be proved wrong. It could be that, as a vocal minority of scientists believe, global warming is so much hot air. But we have a responsibility to respond to the preponderance of evidence that indicates otherwise. I don't think it's a coincidence that Mike Timble's position on this matter dovetails so nicely with President Bush's and the oil industry's. Where corporate profits are involved, you can always find a few shills willing to smile and reassure everyone that everything is just fine.

Michael Robbins

S. Blackstone

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