- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 13, 2001

No need for 'human harvest

Maggie Gallaghers excellent June 12 Commentary column, "Human harvest challenge," appropriately highlights many of the misconceptions and outright lies present in the debate over stem-cell research.

The fact that many, if not most, well-informed people assume outright that stem-cell research necessarily requires the destruction of embryos shows what an effective job the media, not to mention the National Institutes of Health, have done of misleading us. Adult stem-cell research, which has been endorsed by the Vatican and is ethically noncontroversial, has seen much greater advances over a longer period of time and has the potential to treat heart disease, Alzheimer´s disease, spinal-cord injuries, corneal problems, multiple sclerosis, stroke, diabetes, Parkinson´s disease, anemia and autism and to help muscle recovery. Adult stem-cell research even can help with neural transplantation and brain repair.

House Resolution 2096, introduced by Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican, and others at a press conference earlier this month, would appropriate $30 million for ethically noncontroversial stem-cell research and set up a national bank for infants´ cord blood, which contains millions of stem cells. The bill does not hold the ethical complications of other bills that would lead to the killing of a human. This is an excellent opportunity for us to get beyond our misconceptions about the need for the "human harvest" of some to help the lives of others.


JOHN LOUIS SCHWENKLER

Washington

Public interest should be the public's expense

After firmly rejecting the Kyoto Protocol and mandatory caps on energy use, President Bush faces his European Union opposites in Gothenburg, Sweden, tomorrow and his G-8 colleagues in Genoa, Italy, next month. They likely will invoke the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report to the White House, which states unequivocally in the first sentence of its summary: "reenhouse gases are accumulating in Earths atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface temperatures to rise."

Only near the end of the report do we learn of the considerable uncertainties that could negate this conclusion: "Because of the large and still uncertain level of natural variability inherent in the climate record, a causal linkage between the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the observed climate changes during the 20th century cannot be unequivocally established. The fact that the magnitude of the observed warming is large in comparison to natural variability as simulated in climate models is suggestive of such a linkage, but it does not constitute proof of one because the model simulations could be deficient."

And, indeed, the models are deficient. Natural climate variations can be explained best in terms of solar variability and volcanic activity, which are not considered in the greenhouse gas models.

Further, there is no such "fact that the magnitude of the observed warming is large." The claimed temperature rise of the past few decades is based entirely on surface data from poorly controlled stations, judged to be contaminated and therefore suspect. The NAS summary ignores the observed climate cooling that took place between 1940 and 1975, so obviously at variance with the increase in greenhouse gases and model results. It also completely ignores the data from weather satellites and weather balloons, both of which show no appreciable warming trend since 1979. In addition, none of the many proxy measurements (tree rings, ice cores, etc.) shows any recent warming.

A public hearing on the evidence may be required to determine which set of data is trustworthy.


S. FRED SINGER

Arlington


S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and president of the Science & Environmental Policy Project.

United States should not take sides in Sudan conflict

It was disappointing to see The Washington Times in its June 7 editorial "Which way to Sudan?" take a position that, in effect, calls for a continuation of the failed and thoroughly discredited policies of the Clinton administration in dealing with the civil war in Sudan.

Instead of recognizing the need of the United States to return to its more traditional, principled role of honest conciliator in tragedies of the magnitude of the war in Sudan that is, constructively engage all parties to the conflict in an effort to bring them to the peace table you seem to recommend continuing one-sided support to the rebel movement, the Sudanese People´s Liberation Army (SPLA), while eschewing contact with the government in Khartoum. In a war that may have had as many as thousands of people killed and about 4 million displaced in the past 18 years, a U.S. policy that openly takes sides and thus encourages more fighting must also assume responsibility for more casualties. Editorial pages that take this position also must assume such a responsibility.

In your editorial, you refer to recent testimony before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus as somehow representing the definitive assessment of the realities in Sudan. While testimony from all witnesses can and should be weighted by the U.S. Congress, it is essential that the U.S. government once again begin to define for itself the issues in Sudan, rather than depend on those whose motives and impartiality may be in question. This can only be accomplished by restaffing the United States Embassy in Khartoum with a full complement of professionals who can begin to sort through the abounding misinformation on the situation in Sudan.

Finally, it is the government of Sudan that is calling repeatedly for a comprehensive and unconditional cease-fire, not the SPLA, whose latest offensive in Bahr el-Ghazal has forced tens of thousands of civilian refugees on the road north to incredible hardship. How do you calculate this action as part of "the cycle of violence" to which you refer in your editorial?

It is time for peace. It also is time for the United States to apply the fundamental principles of a great nation in the search for peace.


AMBASSADOR KHIDIR HAROUN AHMED

Charge d´affaires

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

Washington

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