I'm a Democrat, and I enjoy your work. And I get very frustrated by those on the left who whine and are thin on the facts.
This brings me to my reason for this letter: Global warming.
The global warming debate is unique to humanity. If those who advocate "wait and convince more scientists" are wrong, following their advice may affect hundreds of millions of people, with possibly many killed by famine and flooding. On the other hand, if the people who advocate doing something now are wrong, the worst is mostly economic. That's a price I'm more than willing to pay to hedge my bets to protect the millions of lives at risk, as well as the ecosystems and animal species facing extinction.
Following the advice of the vast majority of the world's atmospheric scientists sounds like a bet all humans should take. -- Mr. Ph.D.
Dear Mr. Ph.D.,
Progress! At least you do not say, as does Al Gore, that the debate about global warming in the scientific community "is over." Nor do you assert, as does CBS's Katie Couric, that "all the experts agree." The debate is not over, nor do all experts agree.
You suggest that if the scientists are wrong, the worst case comes down to a few lost bucks. No, the worst case results in lots of lost bucks, retarded economic growth, lost jobs and weakened worker pensions, all while making nations, especially Third World countries, less prosperous and thus less capable of adapting to whatever damage might occur as a result of global warming.
The Kyoto Accords cost hundreds of billions of dollars, and figure to increase the gap between the rich and the poor. More will starve, with countries becoming less financially capable of dealing with diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS, etc. Funds directed toward combating global warming mean less money for immediate crises like those mentioned. This can result in greater political instability and tyranny, with more failed states receptive to the Islamofascist lie that rich nations become so "at the expense of poor ones."
Furthermore, many scientists and economists see a small-benefit to high-cost ratio, again therefore diverting money otherwise spent on improved technologies that could wean us away from environmentally polluting energy sources, some of which come from hostile, politically unstable nations. This means less money for R&D on wind, solar, nuclear and other non-fossil fuel alternatives.
Life involves trade-offs. You underestimate the cost side while overestimating the benefit side. "Environmentalists" like Rachel Carson, author of "Silent Spring," helped to create the hysteria that eliminated DDT. The result? The return of malaria and needless deaths.