I take issue with the recent letter from George Reynolds (Herald, June 21) criticizing scientific climate research. It would help if he would state explicitly what he thinks should happen. Does he believe that human activity is not the major cause of global warming, and that nothing should be done to regulate and control carbon dioxide emissions until scientists reach 100 percent agreement?
His letter is based on an article in the June technical journal, Chemical Engineering Progress (CEP) that purportedly analyzes 36 papers on global warming and finds controversy and contradictions. The conclusion is that efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions are unwarranted and "will have negative impact on social and economic development and quality of life."
The article is only available to members of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. The two authors are professors - one at the University of Wyoming, one at the University of Houston - in departments of chemical and petroleum engineering. Neither, as I can tell, has credentials in climate research as would be attested by their publication in relevant refereed journals. To understand their persuasion I quote from another presentation on global warming by these same two authors: "Unfortunately science has been hijacked by political agendas and, in furthering these political agendas the potential impact has been exaggerated to contradictory and illogical conclusions that are intended to impress, primarily to cause alarm."
From working with dedicated climate scientists I find such judgment utter nonsense. Although I do not know specifically the papers that the CEP article analyzed, I do know the nature of scientific discourse and discovery. It should be abundantly clear that the global climate system is complicated. As climate investigations are carried out, the ensuing publications may agree or disagree in their interpretations. Any disagreement does not call into question the integrity, skill, or care of the investigators - it only calls for further directed studies.
For an unbiased and comprehensive scientific outlook on climate change, I recommend the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Use caution if you prefer climate information from the journal Chemical Engineering Progress.
Gary Rottman, Durango