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Just the facts on global warming

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Thank you Eric Bergeson for a refreshing piece on global warming a couple weeks ago. I agree with Eric that the question, "do you believe in global warming?" is insane. It is insane to think that an educated society can be so easily duped by a few political hacks and an industrial lobby. If you get your "facts" about climate change from Rush Limbaugh, George Will or from ads by the oil and coal lobby, you are ignorant on this subject.

The political debate over climate change was created in the early 1990s by the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), a morally bankrupt group serving industries with profits tied to fossil fuels. The oil, coal and auto industry fulfilled their goal of casting enough doubt about the science of global warming to minimize public concern and delay government action. It worked, and still does because some refuse to become informed about the subject and others get their "science" from talk show hosts, industry and elected conservatives bought by industry. Hence a letter in the April 15 Record from, I'm sure, a well intentioned but admittedly "ignorant listener of talk radio."

On April 23, the New York Times published an article titled "Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate." (See: www.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/science/earth/24deny.html?_r=1). This piece exposes the GCC for intentionally ignoring its own scientific experts when the experts wrote, in a draft internal report in 1995 that, "The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied."

Put another way the oil, coal and auto lobby knew as early as 1995 that global warming was real and caused by humans, and yet they have intentionally lied to us for 14 years in an attempt to keep us ignorant. Ads from industry that use catch phrases like "clean coal" to mislead the public are common. "Clean coal" is the primary source of mercury in the fish we eat, and a major polluter emitting greenhouse gases. The technology to clean it up if it even becomes feasible is at least 20 years away, so for now, clean and coal are mutually exclusive terms.

Their deceit works for, as Eric so well stated, "the masses are inherently lazy. They do not want to be told that they should change their habits. And they will cling to any belief that allows them to evade responsibility." As rocker Joan Jett belts out in her song titled Riddles, "How can this be, why can't you see, that they just speak at us in riddles...Wake Up People!"

To learn about climate change go to the National Academy of Science at dels.nas.edu/climatechange. Here's a sample: "The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to begin taking steps to prepare for climate change and to slow it. Human actions over the next few decades will have a major influence on the magnitude and rate of future warming. Large, disruptive changes are much more likely if greenhouse gases are allowed to continue building up in the atmosphere at their present rate."

There is legislation pending in Washington, D.C. to deal with climate change. There are many organizations that are lobbying hard against it. The three largest of these organizations, (including Exxon Mobile), spent $98.45 million in 2008 lobbying against climate change action (source: Environmental Defense Fund). These organizations will continue to shamelessly lie to us and our elected officials in the name of making money at the expense of our health and the health of our planet. One's ignorance on climate change is a personal choice. -- Bruce Paakh, Detroit Lakes

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