Letters for July 27, 2006

Scientists agree
Re “Don’t believe me? See the movie,” (Right Hook, July 13):

Lafferty’s vaguely disturbing but nonetheless hilarious assertion that “not all scientists are in agreement over global warming” begs the question: Does Lafferty intend to say that we scientists don’t all agree on the minutia of global warming, or that there are reputable scientists who disavow human-induced global climate change altogether? Because, with a few fringe pseudoscientists as exceptions, we do certainly agree that global warming is occurring.

Among reputable climate scientists, there is, of course, some disagreement on how severe the consequences of climate change will be. If the fringe views of those few “scientists” of whom Lafferty apparently speaks are to be listened to, please recall that there are also fringe elements in the science community who belong to the Flat Earth Society.

Here’s something to chew on: In a recent paper in Science magazine (www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686), Naomi Oreskes synopsized 928 peer reviewed scientific journal articles published from 1993 to 2003, all of which discussed climate and climate change. Not one single scientific journal article subscribed to Lafferty’s ignorant point of view that global warming isn’t happening.

Not one.

Chris Rosamond

Farley on Hook
Re “Don’t believe me? See the movie,” (Right Hook, July 13):

Normally I welcome seeing Mike Lafferty in the Reno News & Review for the same reasons I liked seeing Nixon in the White House—the wackos are already on his side, so no harm done there, and he’ll turn a certain number of undecideds against his cause. Every column represents a net gain for reason and logic.

Several points in his July 13 piece, though, are so divorced from reality they embarrass both him and the RN&R. Most notably, he dismissed the idea that melting polar ice caps would raise sea levels around the world, apparently because he let the ice melt in a drink once, and his glass wasn’t any fuller when it was done.

No doubt that would be true if the polar ice were floating, like ice cubes in a drink. As 30 seconds on Google would have revealed, though, the Antarctic ice is perched on rock, with an area of about 14 million square kilometers, at an elevation of between 2,000 and 4,000 meters and with a high point above 13,000 feet. The continent, 1.5 times the size of the United States, is covered with ice averaging 6,900 feet deep, a total of about 7 million cubic miles.

By most calcuations, if it all were to melt, sea level around the world would rise 60 meters, about 195 feet. That would inundate not just coastal cities like Miami and San Francisco (Lafferty could tie his yacht, lifted by the rising tide, to the spire of the TransAmerica Building), but also would submerge Sacramento, most of the Central Valley of California, nearly all of Florida and similar low-lying lands around the globe.

Whether that’s likely to happen is open to debate, though the evidence does seem to be accumulating. But the result if it did is simple enough to calculate, and it’s a disservice to your readers to let Lafferty pass along his misinformation.

Cory Farley

Corporate tax subsidies

Nevada, 47th in per pupil spending. Nevada, unable to fully meet federal No Child Left Behind standards. Nevada’s legislature, school superintendents and trustees, parents and educational supporters decry lack of school funding.

Nevada’s Supreme Court ruled education is a constitutional (substantive) right, and legislative actions are subordinate procedural acts. Gov. Guinn and school administrators hailed the decision but now reverse direction and support diversion of educational funds into “Star Bonds” and “redevelopment districts.”

Any act by the legislature that takes funding away from a constitutionally mandated program (education, safety or welfare of the populous) and gives those funds to a private enterprise (business) is unconstitutional. Any elected official voting to sacrifice funding for today’s students and supporting corporate welfare should be impeached or voted out of office. Federal funding is jeopardized when standards are not met. Voters should turn down every school or public safety bond request until Star Bonds and redevelopment districts no longer siphon off earmarked funding.

Gov. Guinn, members of the legislature, the attorney general and school officials need to read Article 1, sections 1 and 2 (Inalienable rights) and Article 11 (Education) of the Nevada Constitution. Tax support to business is not a constitutional right, and it is certainly not a justifiable taxpayer burden. Article 8, section 2 requires taxing corporate property the same as the property of individuals. Article 8, sections 9 and 10 prohibit the state, any city or county from donating or loaning any money, or “loaning its credit to any such company.”

Terry W. Tiernay