- The Washington Times - Friday, February 5, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It is premature to declare global warming dead (“Osama and Obama on global warming,” Editorial, Tuesday). We know that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere and that burning fossil fuel puts more carbon dioxide into the air. We don’t understand the myriad interactions between carbon dioxide and tundra, rain forest, ocean and clouds. Nor do we understand the intervening variables of the earth’s oscillations or solar cycles. It is clearly possible that we can have occasional cooler periods during a long-term warming.

But for the sake of argument, let’s declare global warming dead and buried. Does that mean we can burn as much fossil fuel as we want? No, because we don’t have as much fossil fuel as we want. America’s oil production peaked 40 years ago, not because of concern about global warming, but because of depletion. Global oil discoveries also peaked more than 40 years ago, and for the past 30 years, we have been burning more oil than we are discovering. Peak oil isn’t a theory - it is the inevitable result of using a non-renewable resource. Only the rate of depletion is in question.

Many oil experts believe that we already are facing declining oil production. It clearly is better to address the problem before declining production leaves us trying to meet our current energy needs while also trying to replace our energy infrastructure. We may be too late to avoid that problem now. Global warming or not, we must leave oil before it leaves us.

CARL HENN

Rockville, Md.

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