Letters to the Editor

Nickles’ Global Warming Article Unscientific

Thank you, Jesse Nickles, for your fair and balanced assessment of greenhouse gas hysteria on Feb. 5 (‘Global Warming Not Proven by Science’), as a product of the ‘massive orgy [involving politicians, the media and corporations] that purposefully provokes conflicts, crises and confrontations to further their respective goals.’

That the United Nations just released a report stating that it is ‘very likely’ humans are at least partly responsible for global warming is of little consequence. The report was clearly a piece of fear-inducing propaganda written by the media, corporations and politicians, not a skeptical treatment of the issue with contributions from thousands of the most respected scientists in the world.

Nickles demonstrates a firm grasp of the tenets of effective journalism in citing a reader of ‘National Geographic,’ a U.N. report released in 1990 and Congress. Clearly, when one needs an educated opinion on climate change, he should turn to a group of elected legislators.

For many years now, studies have been conducted to ascertain the environmental threat created by our nation’s consumption of fossil fuels, but not a single one of these studies has used the insight and brilliance of C. J. Condon, of Maquoketa, Iowa, the ‘National Geographic’ reader whom Nickles cites in his article. I have news for all of you paranoid hysterics who believe in global warming: C. J. Condon doesn’t buy it. Or at least, he didn’t buy it in June of 2004.

But what the hell difference does time make, anyway? The United Nations knew what they were talking about in 1990. Science is not like wine; it doesn’t age well.

If some guy whose wife bought him a one-year subscription to National Geographic and the Republican Senate (which, at the time of the Kyoto protocols, had a Republican majority) all agree that global warming is some kind of hoax, then the bluff is called.

I think it’s safe to say the idea that humans can cause any kind of drastic effect on their environment is going the way of the dodo, the African elephant, the Asian elephant, the California condor, the Pygmy hippopotamus, the Galapagos turtle and the Siberian tiger. Rather than wasting our time thinking of ways that we are destroying the planet, we should spend more time and energy improving the quality of our lives.

We should be asking, ‘Why don’t we need an SUV that can seat four people and get 11 miles per gallon of gasoline? Why shouldn’t we keep our central air conditioning set at 55 degrees when we are not at home?’ Obviously, if our actions don’t lead to the imminent and immediate destruction of the planet, then not only should we continue these habits, but we should be rewarded for doing so.

Besides, as Nickles points out, we have the trees to protect us.

It is a well-known fact that trees absorb carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen, especially when entire rainforests are cut down and burned by developing countries to make room for their exponential growth in population, which then burns fossil fuels to generate more carbon dioxide so that the trees that remain are not deprived of their natural fuel, before they too are cut down and burned to make room for more people.

Oil being the unlimited energy source that it is, we should put more money into this struggling industry, which tries very hard to improve the lives of poor people all over the world, redistributing the wealth among the impoverished and taking it away from a dozen despots in isolated regions of the world.

There is something clearly wrong with a movement that aims to promote conservation and make our country independent of the influence of oil barons both inside the country and out.

I see no reason that I should have to change my lifestyle for the good of the planet. Because global warming is the only threat that excessive consumption of oil poses to the environment, and since I have inarguably determined that it really isn’t a threat based on my extensive knowledge of climate change, I would have to recommend to my readers that you forego that hybrid car you were planning on purchasing and instead buy a Ford Expedition.

I hope that one day our politicians will be able to engage in a massive orgy with the American people, and not one with these crazy media people and the corporations that employ them. Wouldn’t you agree?

Jacob Beizer
third-year English major

[In Response to ‘Global Warming Not Proven by Science,’ Feb. 5, by Jesse Nickles.]

I would first like to add a disclaimer that there are so many things wrong with this article that I don’t know where to start. It’s a compilation of bad rhetoric coupled with cherry-picked information and dishonesty.

One place to start is with the misleading title of the article: ‘Global Warming Not Proven by Science.’ It is common knowledge that science does not prove anything; it supports theories with empirical evidence. An author with an antigravity agenda could have also said ‘Gravity Not Proven by Science’ and still beeen technically correct.

The author claims that the media, corporations and politicians have used global warming to illicit fear in people and gain from them. In an effort to support his point, he tries to associate global warming with cherry-picked examples of media-driven hysteria such as Y2K, SARS, bird flu, etc., all of which clearly turned out to be exaggerated. In order to help balance the list, I can introduce issues that turned out to not be so exaggerated, such as ozone depletion, which led to the ban of CFCs, and the ban of DDT (a pesticide which was killing off birds). A sensible person would include global warming in the latter list, not lumped with killer bees or Y2K.

For the sake of brevity I’ll focus on the message, not on the rhetoric or the cherry-picked examples. The argument the author wants to make is that the media, the government and corporations are attempting to benefit from the global warming issue. Let’s begin with the media. May I ask what channels are constantly advocating for action on global warming? From what I have seen, the only discussion that takes place in the media about global warming are pseudo-debates between skeptics and those that believe in the dangers of global warming with the aim of lumping scientific information in with opinions, and creating a fabricated atmosphere of uncertainty on the issue of global warming.

What about politicians? Let’s focus on the White House. Is the Bush administration passionately advocating we take global warming seriously? No, instead they are actively involved in blocking any legislation or discussion on global warming with the aid of the media. There have been some articles, which should outrage the American people, reporting that the Bush administration is censoring its own scientists, editing their reports and restricting to whom they speak.

What about corporations? The oil industry would be the biggest loser if Americans dropped their addiction to oil for the sake of the environment. American automobile-makers that keep insisting on making gas-guzzling cars would lose if the government raised fuel-efficiency standards even to reasonable levels.

I feel for the author. It’s not easy to find credible articles downplaying global warming or even refuting the science involved. In an attempt to do so, the author cites outdated articles and focuses on irrelevant facts, such as how much carbon trees in the United States absorb. His best fact (if it were true) would have been that the medieval warming period was ‘significantly warmer than any current temperature trends’; unfortunately, we have far surpassed that warming threshold.

I will end this letter by disagreeing with one more point Nickles brings up in his closing: ‘I just wish that when the truth confronted us, we would have more courage to embrace objectivity.’ You are wrong, Mr. Nickles: When the truth confronts us, we are morally obligated to act in accordance with it