Greenhouse Effects

Lester B. Lave's comments on the greenhouse effect need some realignment ("Greenhouse Effects Are Real, but They May Not Be as Devastating as We Fear," Op-Ed Page, July 14). If he has information to support his contention that we can delay prompt action to mitigate the effect, he might have let us in on it.

Last month many responsible scientists testified before a congressional committee on the greenhouse effect, and many more conferred on the issue in an international conference in Toronto. To suggest that these men and women of science exaggerated just to get attention requires some substantiation. Lave provides none.

He ignores the finding that we have already set off a chain of events that will cause serious climatic changes, no matter what we do from now on.

"Why rush into such disruptive steps" as curtailing fossil fuel combustion, emitting CFCs, and reforestation, he asks. Scientists in great consensus have told us why. We must act now just to mitigate the effects. Lacking such action, we will exacerbate the impacts. It's irresponsible to kiss off the problem by saying technology will turn up something later to solve it.

But look at it another way. The greenhouse effect aside, there are still compelling reasons to eliminate every cause of the greenhouse effect. We're choking on fossil fuel vapors and exhausts; by sending CFCs into the stratosphere we're destroying the ozone layer that keeps us from frying under ultraviolet rays; and we're rapidly losing precious soil, plant and animal species by chopping down forests.

Agreed, we shouldn't panic. But when the nature of the problem is posed with authority, and the solutions are identified and available, it's time to get to work.


Santa Barbara

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