- The Washington Times - Monday, May 30, 2005

Warm to global warming

In “Warming: Famine or feast?” (Commentary, Wednesday), Dennis Avery and H. Sterling Burnett list every possible advantage of global warming to agriculture and none of negative effects, leading to a falsely positive picture.

Warming temperatures would increase evaporation and drying out of fields. While heavier rainfall also would result, heavier rainfall can cause excess erosion without guaranteeing adequate soil moisture throughout the growing season.

Increased “worldwide vegetative activity” doesn’t necessarily mean greater food production. Our crops were developed to fit current conditions. The world’s weeds are better positioned to take advantage of changed conditions than are our crops because we plant one crop in a field, but they are challenged by dozens of weed species, any one of which may be better suited to higher temperatures.

The authors point to warmer winters as a positive feature without noting that warmer winters allow more pest species to survive the winter and harm crops the following spring. The authors claim that global warming has “helped the world’s grain production soar from 700 million to more than 2 billion tons” from 1950 to last year. Hogwash. This is the total increase from 1950 to last year. This increase is primarily caused by better seed varieties, more fertilizer use and more irrigation. The net effect of increased carbon dioxide and higher temperature is probably negative.

A study published by the National Academy of Sciences estimates that each 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature results in a 10 percent drop in rice yields. A study published in Science linking temperature to yield from 1982 to 1998 in the United States found a 1 degree Celsius temperature increase reduced corn and soybean yields by 17 percent.

Falling water tables, desertification, soil erosion, fossil fuel depletion and land loss to urbanization are all challenges that must be met to feed our growing population. Global warming is one more problem to overcome, not an ally in this struggle.

CARL HENN

Rockville

1. Shaubing Peng et al., “Rice yields decline with higher temperature from

global warming.” Proceedings of the nationa Academy of Sciences, 6 July

2004, pp 9971-75

2. David B. Lobell and Gregory P. Asner, “Climate and Management

Contributions to Recent Trends in U.S. Agricultural Yields” Science, 14

Problems with parole

After I read the “portraits of pain” of rape, robbery, homicide, etc. committed by parolees in Deroy Murdock’s column “End, don’t mend, parole” (Commentary, Monday), it occurred to me that the headline for the column could have been “End parole, mend parole; same thing.”

Daniel J. Harper kidnapped, beat, slashed the throat of, and set afire a 52-year-old hospital worker ? while on parole. He also “attempted” to assault her sexually. As I understand it, he didn’t attempt to assault her ? he did assault her. Assault, in my dictionary, is defined as “an unlawful threat or unsuccessful attempt to do physical harm to another, causing a present fear of immediate harm.” The second clause in that definition qualifies. What Harper attempted ? but failed ? was rape.

Does the fact that parolee Shamduh Wilson served six-sevenths of a sentence before killing Kenneth Frasier mean Mr. Frasier is one-seventh less dead?

Sixty-nine-year-old Sister Margaret Faherty was pistol-whipped, and a woman was raped by Roy Williams before he completed even one-fourth of his second parole. Oh, and he also reportedly robbed a bank.

There were other portraits of pain and, near the end of his column, lots of scary statistics, but if Mr. Murdock had waited just two days more, he could have included a case with which nearly everybody is familiar: the report of Lional Tate, who has “poor impulse control.” While on probation for 10 years after stomping a 6-year-old girl to death, he held up a pizza-delivery man at gunpoint (“Teen killer back in jail in pizza-delivery attack” Nation, Wednesday).

Ending parole and mending parole are one in the same.

W.J. RICHARDSON

Virginia Beach

The ‘peace pipeline’

The article “India, Pakistan to discuss gas line from Iran” by Andrea R. Mihailescu (World, Wednesday) focuses on proposed Indian and Pakistani talks next week on the construction of a so-called peace pipeline from Iran, despite U.S. concerns communicated to both India and Pakistan by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about the $4 billion deal.

The United States has warned India that it could run afoul of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which empowers President Bush to order punitive measures against any international company that invests more than $20 million a year in Iran’s energy sector. India, like the United States, has to take care of its energy requirements in a secured and cost-effective manner. Washington cannot deny India’s request to purchase U.S. civilian nuclear technology and power plants as a value proposition and also expect India to sacrifice its economic growth by not getting oil and gas from Iran.

If the Bush administration cannot help India, the largest democracy and a responsible growing power, it should take care not to increase India’s security problems ? both physical and energy.

VIPUL THAKORE

London

Downside of CAFTA

The belief among journalists whose columns this newspaper carries is that CAFTA, the Central America Free Trade Agreement, is good for the United States. The Heritage Foundation supports it, as do Tony Blankley (“Free trade slip-sliding away?” Op-Ed, May 18) and Michael Barone (“Opposing free trade,” Commentary, Tuesday). What’s wrong with their analysis is that each is looking at CAFTA singularly instead of in the broader context of total international trade; unfortunately, so is the Bush administration.

Adding CAFTA to the plethora of free-trade agreements already in place is like piling on in football. Though we will see some benefits from its enactment, certain sectors of our economy will take a hit, most notably the sugar industry. Proponents of CAFTA say that those who oppose it are protectionist, but anyone who has looked at our trade deficits would be hard-pressed to accuse the United States of being protectionist; that label is laughable.

What is needed is a comprehensive trade policy from the Bush administration that restores some equilibrium to international trade. Unfortunately, current and past administrations seem to view trade as their big bargaining chip in foreign relations. Industry after industry here has to downsize, relocate or go out of business with each new free-trade deal. We not only open our markets to lower-cost competitors, we send their governments huge amounts of seed money in the form of foreign aid. Latin America and the Caribbean will enjoy more than $900 million of our tax money in fiscal 2005 alone.

Support for CAFTA in Congress is weak, and I don’t believe that’s solely because of the sugar lobby. Some of our elected representatives see the folly in yet another free-trade deal, given our enormous trade deficit. It’s not that CAFTA, by itself, is bad; it’s just that our free-trade account is overdrawn.

RICHARD W. RESSLER

North Olmsted, Ohio

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