Thursday, April 07, 2011

An Open Letter to Al Gore regarding Global Warming

Mr. Vice President:

First off, I'd like to thank you for all your selfless efforts to deal with climate change issues. (I'd also like to personally thank you for your early support of the Internet; I think it will go down as the most important thing that happened in the 20th Century).

That said ...

I understand from reading the recent book Super Freakonomics that, when asked what you thought about ideas from scientists about who want to take positive action against global warming (such as ideas from Nathan Myrvold's think tank about harnessing sulphur pollution from coal burning power plants and putting it into the upper atmosphere) you reacted with an unequivocal "no", based entirely on your extreme discomfort at the thought of putting more "pollutants" into the atmosphere.

Mr. Vice President, in my opinion, you cannot both believe that global warming is the most important problem facing the planet AND dismiss scientific methods of dealing with it offhand like that. If global warming is a problem (and I know it is) and if you think it is affecting us even now (and it is) then you must be open to any possible method of dealing with it. Pollution reduction and efficiency in power generation are very important, and in the long run they almost certainly must be our best defense against global warming, but any number of things may happen to prevent action on them from being successful in the short term, and in fact, they already are unsuccessful in the sort term. Ask the polar bears.

If you and your organizations are going to be the voice of reason (and not just the voice of the "Greens"), then you must deal with the situation as it is ... we could, with (relatively) very small amounts of money and time, start to deal with global warming in any number of ways with science; using these methods might very well give us the time to do the right thing in the long run without losing too much more precious wildlife and real estate. Are you the voice of reason, Mr. Vice President? Or are you only the voice of one very long and expensive (and possibly politically undoable) method of dealing with the problem?

Sorry to bring out the cliches yet again, but the polar bears need our help now, not 20 years from now. The low-lying islands in the Pacific need help now. Cities (especially poor ones) on the oceans need help NOW. Mr. Vice President, please use your mind and not just your emotions, and put some real thought into this. We have scientifiic methods to deal with this problem RIGHT NOW; can we afford to ignore them through simple distaste?

Hugh Caley
Albany, CA

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