A logic drought | PostIndependent.com

A logic drought

Dear Editor:

One of the most contentious debates raging in the scientific community today is the validity and scope of climate change wrought by human activity.

In a column printed in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent on April 3, Janine Bloomfield of Environmental Defense weighs in on the debate. Although Ms. Bloomfield is a senior scientist at Environmental Defense and also a Ph.D. (a search of their website failed to clarify just what Ms. Bloomfield’s Ph.D. consists of) her assertions fail to merit the label scientific.

In the first paragraph she calls the current drought in the East Coast a portent of the future. Here her memory fails her. The winter of 2000/2001 in New Hampshire surpassed snowfall totals for several prior years. As to the drought in the West, Ms. Bloomfield is correct, but only in terms of two decades or less. Hardly concrete trends when global weather patterns are typically measured in centuries. She then goes on to say, “No one can say for sure why we’re experiencing this drought,” a most convenient qualifier that would seem to weaken her argument.

Not one to give up, Ms. Bloomfield continues with the idea that global warming-induced droughts can serve as a self-sustaining cycle by the air trapping moisture at abnormal rates. Obviously warm air can entrain more moisture than cooler air. But this would have to exist in the form of water vapor. Suspended water vapor would thereby change the UV reflectivity (increase) of the atmosphere, resulting in a cooling effect, would it not?

Ms. Bloomfield states for most of a decade global warming pollution (is that CO2, ozone gases, sulfur dioxide, particulates?) has continued to rise. This is a distorted generalization. The United States has significantly reduced these gases with tighter controls on automobile and truck emissions, stricter mileage requirements and better fuel blends.

Leaving science behind, Ms. Bloomfield ventures into politics. In an action-packed paragraph she states the United States stayed on the sidelines while 170 nations agreed to “fight global warming.” By this she must mean the Kyoto Accords. Of those 170 nations, just one, Romania, has gone beyond the token political step of signing the accord and actually ratified it. Continuing, she states, “the (Bush) administration’s business as usual … risks pushing the world over the brink of dangerous climate change.” Assuming the current administration lasts two terms, that hardly seems enough time to irrevocably change the entire globe.

Scientists all over the planet are conducting valid research to ascertain the effects of industrial man on his environment. That we do have an impact is undeniable. To what extent, the jury is still out. But to politicize the issue with fatuous statements and self-serving research only serves to enshroud any cognizant policy and potential solutions with the fog of ideology.

David W. Plush

Glenwood Springs

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