- The Washington Times - Monday, October 5, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

As much as we sympathize with the people of Taiwan suffering from the devastation of the recent typhoon, global warming is not causing an increase in the frequency or severity of extratropical storms (“Taiwan’s climactic climatic contributions,” Letters, Wednesday).

In his 2005 essay “Is the Global Warming Alarm Founded on Fact?” Richard S. Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, states: “According to any textbook on dynamic meteorology, one may reasonably conclude that in a warmer world, extratropical storminess and weather variability will decrease. … Nevertheless, advocates and the media tell us that exactly the opposite is the case: that the models predict this (which, to their credit, they do not). … Clearly more storms and greater extremes are regarded as more alarming than not. Thus the opposite of our current understanding is invoked in order to promote public concern.”

It also is misguided to urge the nations of the world to try to control climate change by enacting restrictions on carbon dioxide production. Despite what is constantly drummed into our heads, carbon dioxide is not a major greenhouse gas: 95 percent of the greenhouse effect is caused by water in the atmosphere, over which we have no control; carbon dioxide, meanwhile, accounts for just 3 percent. Further, human activities account for just 3 percent of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Again, from Mr. Lindzen: “At this point, it is doubtful that we are even dealing with a serious problem. If this is correct, then no policy addressing this non-problem would be cost-effective. Even if we believe the problem to be serious, we have already reached the levels of climate forcing that have been claimed to be serious.”

We are not the problem. Climate change has always happened and always will. It is driven mostly by variations in Earth’s orbit and solar activity. We should use our brains and our resources to anticipate and adapt to the effects; we cannot stop them.

DONNA FITZPATRICK BETHELL

Former undersecretary

U.S. Department of Energy

Washington

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