Correspondence with the journal "For A Change "
A. S. Lodge to the Editor, "For A Change": March 22, 2003
I welcome Brian Hamlin's article on European attitudes to America, but I am a lttle perplexed by his reference to our "blind selfishness on environmental issues". What has he in mind? Pollution, endangered species,or our refusal to sign the Kyoto global warming agreement?
Over the past years, Federal and State regulations have resulted in a significant decrease in US environmental pollution and an improved protection of endangered species. Our refusal to sign the Kyoto agreement is, in my view, correct and soundly based. The Kyoto agreement seems to be based more on emotion or politics than on fact. There have been increases and decreases in global temperatures over long periods of time, well before the industrial revolution. I know of no convincing evidence that current human activities have any significant effect on global temperature.
By far the largest constituent of greenhouse gases is water vapour: it absorbs over five times more terrestrial radiation than all the other greenhouse gases combined*. Carbon dioxide forms a small fraction of the greenhouse gas total. Human actions affect a small fraction of that small fraction.
Arthur S. Lodge
Reply from Kenneth Noble (Editor, For A Change) to A. S. Lodge (May 1, 2003):
How nice to hear from you after a 'gap' of a few years!
Sorry to be so long in responding to your letter to the editor. I'm afraid that we won't be able to publish it. We have little space for letters but in any case I believe that it is based on erroneous information.
While it may be true that the Kyoto accord will have only a marginal effect on global warming nearly all experts agree that it is a step in the right direction. Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, has increased to levels not seen for 20 million years. 75 per cent of CO2 added to the atmosphere during the last 20 yars is from fossil fuel burning and deforestation.
There is a mass of data available on the subject. See, for example, "Summary for Policymakers, a report of Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, January 2001".
This comes with best wishes,
Reply from A. S. Lodge to Kenneth Noble (June 22, 2003):
Thanks for your reply dated May 1 to my email dated March 22.
In my email, I objected to Brian Hamlin's extreme and unwarranted criticism of US environmental policy. You make no comment on my objection. If there is no space to publish my letter in Initiative for Change, I suggest that you print a couple of lines stating that your readers can find another viewpoint at my website http://members.tripod.com/aslodge/id76.htm. I would be glad to post our correspondence there so that any interested reader could pursue the matter further.
In my WORD 97 attached file, I offer comments on other points made in your reply.
With best wishes,
June 22, 2003
Reply from Kenneth Noble to A. S. Lodge
Thanks for your reply. You've evidently done thorough research.
I am not an expert on greenhouse gasses, and don't have the time to go into it in depth.
I notice that you say that the cost of implementing Kyoto for the US would be greater than that of providing the world with clean water and sanitation. I would find that a more compelling argument if there were any evidence that the US was committed to doing that! You may well be right that Kyoto will have a marginal impact on global warming--I think I've read that elsewhere; but it seems to me to be a significant step in the right direction. Significant because sooner or later we are going to have to change our life style. The alternative approach, it seems to me, amounts to: 'let's enjoy today and let our children take the consequences'.
I don't think it appropriate that we should publish a letter in FAC referring people to your web site, not least because I cannot see many readers bothering to look at it. (This is not a reflection on your site, just the fact that few people are going to start typing your URL into their pcs.)
My suggestion is that you write your thoughts in the FAC feedback section at the end of Bryan's article on our web site.
All the best