Regarding climate change, Kerry should heed science

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) argued his climate bill, the American Power Act, is a national security imperative, because climate change will inject “a new major source of chaos, tension and human insecurity into an already volatile world.” (“Climate change: The new national security challenge” May 20) As evidence, he reeled off a doomsday list of looming climate crises, including, “more famine and drought, worse pandemics, more natural disasters, more resource scarcity, and staggering human displacement.” On every count, the senator is wrong.

Regarding the potential for climate change-induced drought, Sen. Kerry got his facts backwards. He wrote that, “Scientists now warn the Himalayan glaciers, which provide fresh water to a billion people in India and Pakistan, will face severe impacts from climate change,” but a recent study published in the Annals of Glaciology suggests the Karakoram glaciers — those in the western Himalayas that feed into the Indus River shared by India and Pakistan — are growing.  And the apparent cause is climate change.

ADVERTISEMENT
Unfortunately for Senator Kerry, only days before he wrote in The Hill that climate change will lead to “worse pandemics,” a major study was published in Nature, the most prestigious scientific journal, asserting the exact opposite. According to the latest science, pesticides and sleeping nets will be the primary determinant governing the spread of malaria, not rising temperatures.

Senator Kerry claimed rising temperatures will cause “more famine,” but he failed to elaborate. Not long ago, the Senator could have cited the Nobel prize-winning 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which warned that global warming would halve North African food production by 2020. Recently, however, the British newspaper The Times discovered that this “fact” was based on dubious sourcing and misleading language.

At no point did Senator Kerry acknowledge the national security threats of climate change policies. After all, the bedrock of the U.S. military is the American economy. Is the U.S. national interest truly served by shackling the American economy with carbon controls while China builds a coal fired power plants every week to stoke its red-hot economy?

Washington, D.C.


BP disaster is a warning against reliance on oil

From Dr. Peter Eriksson

The devastating oil disaster in the Gulf region is not only a timely reminder of our sickening addiction to oil but hopefully a wake-up call to many Americans about the immediate danger of relying on oil for so many of our needs.

If there is a silver lining to this sad example of corporate misconduct, it is that everyday Americans finally will understand our oil addiction is not only about a slowly worsening global climate but also about our wellbeing here and now. British Petroleum, or Beyond Petroleum as they have renamed themselves, is an excellent example of a corporate oil giant that has been involved in a large number of environmental disasters and deadly accidents over a number of years: leaking oil pipelines, exploding refineries, exploding oil rigs.

Its time for a change of direction that involves the mobilization of a whole people, not just lip service of public officials and a few under-funded public programs. Improving fuel economy standards for all vehicles, electrifying vehicles of all types, investing in rail for freight and commuting, creating livable communities where transit, walking and biking are important – these are all real and oil-free choices.

Rockville, Md.