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Published: Thursday, 1/6/2005

Warming could be disastrous

The Dec. 25 column by Jack Kelly, "The myth of global warming" sounded like the near-daily drumbeat by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, who refers to those who warn of the consequences of global warming as "environmental wackos."

It's unbelievable how Mr. Kelly, Mr. Limbaugh, and many others discount the science behind this issue, without being called to task to account for what they say.

One day after Mr. Kelly's column, for instance, one by Naomi Oreskes appeared in the Washington Post titled "Undeniable Global Warming." She points out that the impression that there is significant scientific disagreement about global climate change is flat-out wrong, and needs to be changed. She goes on to say that we have to stop repeating nonsense about the uncertainty of global warming, and set about to do something about it.

A search of the scientific literature on this subject on the Internet and in books and journals will soon convince any unbiased reader that global warming is real, that human activity is responsible for part of it, and that its consequences could be disastrous.

This is exactly what President Bush's scientific advisers told him in 2001. He dismissed their findings as being produced by a bunch of bureaucrats, and did next to nothing. That's not the only scientific finding he's watered down, or discounted. Going to http://webexhibits.org/index.html will bring one information on the global warming issue, and many others. Another good site is www.pewclimate.org

There is much we could be doing, but in the face of all the denial prevalent today in the media and government, I'm afraid not much will be done. Too bad for our grandchildren, and perhaps Europe, which could be plunged into another ice age in the not too distant future. No wonder they're so frustrated with us.

John Roesler

Rossford

Recent contributions to this space, including one by your columnist Jack Kelly, have erroneously suggested that the earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean are proof that "nature" or "the planet" is so powerful that it could certainly never be affected by human activities. This idea is fatally flawed and loudly demonstrates the writers' ignorance so profoundly as to cry out for them to keep their uninformed mouths shut.

Earthquakes and tsunamis are geologic processes that do indeed represent the most powerful forces on the planet. But to equate these processes with the "environment" is completely wrong-headed. Geologic processes like earthquakes and volcanoes involve the earth's crust and the molten rock it sits atop. The environment (aka ecosystems) is the inter-related combination of the living things on this planet and the weather system. While geologic processes can have a profound effect on the environment, the reverse is certainly not true and no reputable environmentalist would ever suggest as much.

The environmentalists worry about the effects of human activity on weather and living things, not on geologic processes. It's obvious and indisputable that we are tremendously impacting ecosystems by cutting down forests, over-harvesting living food sources, and polluting water. The only real "controversy," largely contrived by conservatives, is whether the significant pollution we've pumped into the air over the last century and a quarter is enough to actually affect the meteorological system (aka climate) of the planet.

Weather can affect life almost as profoundly as geologic processes and if we are affecting the weather then we should be concerned.

Environmentalists warn that human activities could make our weather more deadly, but I suppose even as they do so, Jack Kelly and his ilk will point to the powerful weather as evidence that we can't harm the planet!

John Chadwick

Penn Road

The Republican Party seems to think it is morally superior to the Democratic Party, yet many see no problem with the Democrat-bashing it continues to do. A Dec. 25 letter writer complained of the Dec. 16 Forum with the three letters bashing the President and his morals. I've lost count of the letters and articles I've read that tell me I have no morals because I'm a Democrat. My family and the majority of my friends and co-workers are Democrats, and all of them are hard-working, decent, and moral people.

Maybe those Republicans should get off their moral high horses and join the rest of us in the real world.

Jennifer Pasztor

Oregon

Based on The Blade's coverage of the "domestic partner" benefits issue at the University of Toledo, it appears that there is unanimous consensus for granting health benefits to unmarried partners at UT. Even so, it is important to consider arguments against such benefits.

First, supporters of domestic partner benefits at UT have contradictory arguments. They state that these benefits are "necessary for attracting and retaining quality instructors." Yet, they claim that such benefits will not cost much since only a tiny fraction of employees will use them.

Increasing health-care costs are one of the primary reasons for UT's large tuition increases. Offering health benefits to domestic partners opens the door to further increases through abuse and fraud.

For example, who is a domestic partner? To qualify as a domestic partner, two persons are usually required to demonstrate a minimal level of mutual commitment. Typically a joint checking account suffices. It would be almost impossible to prove that two persons who claimed to be domestic partners were not committed to each other.

Consider an employee whose friend suffers with a chronic illness. There is little stopping these two from being considered "domestic partners." As such, UT would be required to pay this friend's medical bills. Such a benefit can cost UT as much as a million dollars per person.

Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved Issue 1 in November. This ballot issue prohibits domestic partner benefits at state institutions. Even so, UT supporters of such benefits insist that support for their cause is almost unanimous at UT. Yet, those at UT who question the wisdom of offering these benefits are reluctant to speak out. They know that if they question any aspect of domestic partner benefits they risk being accused of being a homophobe, a bigot, or some other vague indignity.

Douglas Oliver

Shakespeare Lane

University of Toledo faculty members should receive domestic partner benefits. State Issue 1 is a terrible law based on ignorance, fear, and discrimination.

The major threats to heterosexual marriage are infidelity, drugs and alcohol, spousal and child abuse, and economic difficulties, not homosexuals. My union with a wonderful woman has not been threatened by homosexuality in our 52 years of marriage. Under President Dan Johnson's cautious leadership every stakeholder is checked and re-checked on each issue. UT is on the cusp of making dramatic improvements in key areas.

These include academics, research, community involvement, and athletics, all of which are vital to the university.

We need a board of trustees that supports risk-taking and forward thinking. A group that is leading edge, innovative, and creative, not backward-looking dolts.

As an alumni of UT I want us to be competitive in all areas and access all resource pools to build the strongest university possible. Trustees should lead, follow, or get out of the way.

It would also help if The Blade adopted a supportive stance in UT's development, as you have a vital interest in its success.

Don Saul

Sylvania



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