Regarding George F. Will’s Feb. 27 op-ed column, “Liberals helping liberals”:
Put a turkey in a preheated oven, and it heats in a linear fashion from room temperature up to 165 degrees. This seems to be the only type of warming Mr. Will recognizes as real. Of course, if our planet were subjected to that sort of climate change, our goose would be quickly cooked.
In fact, climate models predict the earth to warm by several degrees over the course of a century in a zigzag progression more akin to the change we experience seasonally. For example, on Thursday in Washington, the high temperature was 43 degrees; last Sunday, it was nearly 60. This is an example of the natural variability in a larger warming trend from winter to summer. But using Mr. Will’s logic, this is more than reason enough to believe that there will be no summer in the District this year.
Bob Hirshon, Takoma Park
The writer is program director for technology and learning for the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The views expressed are his own.
George F. Will’s column reminded me of the shallowness of our national debate on climate change, in which it seems to be broadly viewed as true or not true. A more mature and responsible way to view the issue is through the eyes of a risk manager. Before committing to a given action, a risk manager looks at the probability of various loss scenarios occurring and the associated severity of loss. A good risk manager commits to a course of action if comfortable that the potential risk is worth taking in exchange for the potential reward. In the case of climate change, one could argue that even hard-core skeptics should feel compelled to address it.
For example, assume a skeptic assigns only a 5 percent probability that climate change is real. However, the long-term consequences of climate change would be catastrophic for the planet and its inhabitants. Viewed in this light, does doing nothing seem like a good bet?
Charles Foster, Reston