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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Letter The Kokomo Perspective Won't Print

In the town in which I live, there is a weekly newspaper called The Kokomo Perspective. The August 12, 2009 edition of this paper published an opinion column by Rick A. Parsons entitled "Why we need a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon dioxide."

According to the short bio at the end of the column, Parsons is a high school environmental science teacher. Understand that I'm not claiming that Mr. Parsons projects his personal views on his students. I don't know whether he does or not. However, Mr. Parsons' stated in his column, "Global warming is a fact, and the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide mainly due to burning of fossil fuels and deforestation are the major cause of this warming." It did occur to me that a teacher who believes this to be "fact" may well feel justified in relating those "facts" to his students.

I have nothing personal against Mr. Parsons; I don't know the man. I would also defend Mr. Parsons' right to express his belief in man-made global warming and his belief in the need for a cap-and-trade program. However, I believe that the public, especially the parents of Mr. Parsons' environmental science students, have the right to know that there is another side to what Mr. Parsons calls facts. Believing that, I submitted a letter to the editor of The Kokomo Perspective in response to Mr. Parsons' column.

Since the time that I submitted my letter, the Perspective has published two editions of its paper and has so far not found the need to publish my letter. Therefore, I've decided to publish the letter here on Right Thinking.

Read Mr. Parsons' column; then read my response. What do you think? Should Mr. Parsons' opinions be allowed to stand as so-called "fact"?

Here is my letter:

In the August 12 issue of the Kokomo Perspective, Rick Parsons wrote an editorial arguing the need for cap-and-trade legislation. In his editorial Parsons made this statement: “Global warming is a fact, and the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide mainly due to burning of fossil fuels and deforestation are the major cause of this warming.” It seems that Mr. Parsons uses the word fact rather freely.

I noticed that Mr. Parsons is an environmental science teacher. I’m not a scientist and, therefore, will not argue the science with Mr. Parsons. I can read, however. Let me, therefore, point out that the U.S. Senate Minority Report has published a list of over 700 international dissenting scientists who are skeptical of man-made global warming.1

Additionally, from March 8-10, 2009, the second International Conference on Climate Change, sponsored by The Heartland Institute, was held in New York City. During the conference, 80 of the world’s top climate scientists presented evidence skeptical of man-made global warming.2

If one is inclined to do even the simplest research, he or she can quickly and easily find an abundance of evidence presented by reputable scientists who are skeptical of what Mr. Parsons calls “fact.”

In his editorial, Mr. Parsons also wrote that “local politicians and editorial writers…have in a partisan way attempted to scare everyone with hyperbole about increased electricity rates or taxes.” He declared that “scaremongers…continue to put out lies or half-truths regarding the cap-and-trade system.” I would contend that it is not scare mongering when you have the research to back it up.

Ben Lieberman, Senior Policy Analyst for Energy and Environment at The Heritage Foundation, reports that analysis shows that, for a house of four, passage of the Waxman-Markey bill (cap-and-trade) would cause energy costs to go up $436 in 2012 (the year the bill would take effect) and would reach more than $1,241 by 2035.

In addition to direct energy costs, the higher energy costs would raise production costs. This in turn would raise the cost of almost all consumer goods. According to Lieberman, Waxman-Markey would result in “a total impact attributable to a family of four averaging $2,979 annually from 2012 to 2035.” 3

Even if global warming were real and man-made, and even if we were willing to pay the economic costs of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, would the legislation do any good? According to climate scientist Chip Knappenberger of New Hope Environmental Services, “the Waxman-Markey climate bill will only produce a global temperature ‘savings’ during the next 50 years of about 0.05º”4 This would not be enough to make any impact on any negative effects of global warming, even if there were any.

Further negating any positive effect of Waxman-Markey is the fact that many other countries, such as China and India, have shown no inclination to curb their CO2 levels. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson recently testified that "U.S. action alone will not impact world CO2 levels."5

The science of global warming is highly debated; the economic costs of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill would be high; and the effect of the bill on global temperature would be negligible. I certainly hope that students in Mr. Parsons’ environmental science classes are being presented both sides of this issue.

3 4

Bryan Alexander
Kokomo, Indiana


Blogger ChuckL said...

Mr. Parsons definitely has displayed a tendency to ignore the unsettled nature of global warming science. Indeed, his earlier articles had more to do with criticizing then President Bush than with writing anything useful about global warming. Nonetheless, as I wrote in my response (see "Reduce Carbon Emissions," 8/4/09,, if Mr. Parsons is serious about "saving the planet," then he should be publicly promoting the reduction, or elimination, of high school students who drive to school.

8:46 AM  

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