Robert J. Samuelson assailed a group of state attorneys general about a lawsuit they filed that was intended to help curtail global warming. He said the effort was insincere and the cause hopeless [op-ed, Aug. 11]. Unless the entire world adopts corrective measures, the actions we seek won't matter, he said.

He is wrong. The consensus among scientists is that even modest reductions in pollution levels are beneficial. And that is what our lawsuit is designed to achieve.

Our lawsuit is not an attempt to create new law, as Mr. Samuelson said. It asks the courts to direct specific power plants to take steps to reduce emissions -- such as switching to cleaner-burning fuels, expanding energy conservation and investing in renewable energy technology. These actions will not create an intolerable burden on the companies or consumers but will help reduce harmful carbon dioxide emissions.

The attorneys general involved in this case believe that something must be done to address global warming. Lacking a meaningful response from federal authorities, they felt obligated to act. If our lawsuit succeeds, it won't solve the entire problem, but it will be a step in the right direction.

ELIOT SPITZER

Attorney General

State of New York

Albany, N.Y.