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It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature

In reference to the essay written by Mr. Bill McKibben ("Kyoto 10 Years Later," Dec. 12), I would like to offer these comments.

Global warming exists. It is without question. How long it will last is one question. What should we do is another.

Mr. McKibben writes: "... the 10 years after Kyoto included the warmest years on record." What records? Do they include 2,000 years ago? How about 250,000 years ago?

Mr. McKibben writes: "as evidenced by, oh, Hurricane Katrina, California wildfires, epic droughts in the Southeast and Southwest." Oh really. Or are these problems a result of man's interference in nature; wildfires due to unwarranted Forest Service suppression of natural fires and building below sea level in hurricane alley? Epic drought? How about the dust bowl?

And then: "... James Hansen, testified 'that if we didn't stop (adding CO2 to the atmosphere) we could see sea level rise 20 feet before the century was out.'"

20,000 years ago sea levels were 250 feet BELOW where they are now. The reason 20 more feet is a problem is because man has built cities in the way of more sea level rise. 20,000 years ago we were in the midst of an ice age. The ice packs in North American were 8,000 feet thick in some places. There is plenty of evidence the Earth is in the middle of an interglacial period, which will be followed by another ice age. Which is worse? Mankind has been lucky to have lived the past few thousand years in a relatively mild climate. It is not normal historically.

The problem man has is the unrealistic imagination that through his actions or inactions he can control the climate. This imaginary belief pretends man has the ability to maintain a climate which is unusual, but which has been very conducive to man's population explosion.

I, for one, am not afraid.

For an objective overview of man's influence on climate, and related issues, I suggest William F. Ruddiman's Plows, Plagues and Petroleum.

-- Lewis Guignard, Charlotte

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