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Originally published Friday, June 13, 2008 at 12:00 AM


Online-only Letters

Global warming

Don't ignore what is right in front of you

Editor, The Times:

Tim Clark asked two questions in his letter ["It's not easy being green: Stats really got us now, they got us so we don't know what we're doing," Times, Northwest Voices, June 9]. I will attempt to address both of them here.

The Earth was much warmer than it is now at times in the past, so why is warming a bad thing? When warming occurred in the past, there were no coastal cities filled with millions of people. If ocean levels rise by just a few inches, the devastation to low-lying coastal cities across the world would be enormous. If they rise by a few feet, as some projections show they might, then the $45 trillion figure Clark cites could be dwarfed by the damaged caused.

How do we know that we are causing the warming? The key is how quickly average global temperatures are rising (cold springs in the Pacific Northwest notwithstanding; the key word is "average"). Global temperatures have not risen or fallen this quickly on Earth ever before in the absence of a global catastrophe such as a meteor impact. That fact strongly points to human influence as a leading factor in the current warming cycle, if not an outright cause.

In addition, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are at a 650,000-year high and are on a path to increase beyond levels in measurable history (measurable due to trapped air in ancient ice), and carbon dioxide is a potent greenhouse gas.

From a scientific point of view, that is plenty of evidence to act upon. My question to Clark is: Can we afford not to act?

— Michael Blake, Seattle

Misinformed blunders

Tim Clark's letter is full of misinformation. We do know, as well as climate scientists can know, that global warming "would be so bad." The sea is expected to rise by a meter or more, droughts and storms will increase, and whole habitats will become unlivable for their native species.

We also know (again, as far as scientists can know) that the global warming of the past two centuries is closely associated with increased carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Clark has simply not availed himself of this information.

— Chris Nielsen, Shoreline

The good guys become the bad

The wholesale rape of the Earth

It isn't often that the front page delivers good news, but I am extremely heartened to see that the biofuels bubble is beginning to burst. The short-term-profit motive has resulted not only in rising food costs worldwide, but more importantly, a terrifying rate of rain forest clearing. When the rain forests are gone, the Earth will have lost an irreplaceable source of oxygen and absorber of carbon.

The disheartening thing is that talking to someone who is emotionally and financially invested in the biofuels disaster is like talking to a global-warming denier. "Green" activists and entrepreneurs are more interested in refuting obvious evidence than in taking responsibility for horrific unintended consequences. Environmentalists are now aligned with multinational corporations and Third World dictators in wholesale rape of the Earth.

When the good guys won't acknowledge the results of their actions, they inevitably become the bad guys.

— James Freudiger

Presidential nightmare

The world would be a lot different

If the public and the media had scrutinized and criticized and openly complained about the George Bush campaign in 2000 the way they did with the Clinton campaign in 2008, perhaps the past eight years would have been a whole lot different. I'm not ignoring the blunders Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign made nor was she my first choice for president. However, I find it easy to defend her when I think of the long national nightmare that has been the Bush administration.

— Jocelyn Hudson, Shoreline

Conservative accountability

The knee-jerk dogma

I often enjoy Charles Krauthammer's column even though I don't agree with his politics, because he's a smart and insightful man. But it's pretty hard to swallow his whining about a gas tax ["My foolproof (and futile) plan to kick America's oil habit," syndicated column, June 8].

His proposal makes perfect sense, yet he conveniently ignores that it's his Republican Party and his conservative ideology that have created the knee-jerk dogma that all taxes are evil, rendering any tax-based proposal a non-starter in this country. How about a little of that famed conservative accountability here?

— Alan Packer, Redmond

Political violence

Report all the facts

We live in a climate where Muslims are by default held under suspicion for incidents of, or relating to, political violence. I ask your reporters to please keep this in mind and report all facts, not just selective facts, so that people do not get too worked up on grounds of bigotry.

The report on the hung jury on the Jewish Federation case ["Judge declares mistrial in the case of Jewish Federation shooter", Local News, June 5], should have included the fact that Naveed Haq had been baptized as a Christian before the shooting and that he had been attending a church for a year or two, especially because Haq's "Pakistani" and "Muslim" heritage were for some reason deemed worthy of mention in the article.

— Arsalan Bukhari, Shoreline

The "Christian" shooter

We live in a climate where Muslims are held under suspicion for anything to do with violence, we are judged and the rope is just about thrown over the tree branch in a flood of Patriotism whenever something negative brews anywhere.

We ask your reporters to please keep this in mind and report all facts especially when they might help to deflect from the "M"- word, just so people don't get too worked up on grounds of bigotry.

Your reporter Natalie Singer, in reporting on the hung jury on the Jewish Federation case, could have included the fact that Haq had been baptized as a Christian about two months before the shooting and that he had been attending a church for a year or two.

It sure would have helped a lot of local Muslims feel less threatened.

— Jeff Siddiqui, Lynnwood

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