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Sunday, Dec. 4, 2005

READERS IN COUNCIL

An even bigger leap of faith


Middlesex, England

Robert R. Clemons, in his Nov. 23 letter, "Religion of global warming," unfairly misrepresents my views on global warming (Nov. 9 letter, "Deal with the man-made causes"). Belief in global warming is based not on faith, but on a simple scientific model: Injecting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere will lead to an increase in the temperature of the Earth.

It is sophistry to argue that there are other, natural causes of global warming. The Earth's temperature is naturally stable; there have been variations in temperature over time, but natural cycles have ultimately kept these in balance. If you introduce a new variable into a stable system, the system will become unstable. We are upsetting the natural cycles by artificially increasing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. There is an overwhelming consensus among reputable scientists that this will lead to global warming. Unless we radically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the effects will be continuous and cumulative. The only debate is the time scale.

In that light, to describe belief in global warming as a religion is merely a symptom of the desire to avoid making necessary changes to our lifestyles and economies. The real act of faith is to believe that we can continue to exploit the Earth's limited resources at their present rate without catastrophic consequences.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.


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