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Polar opposites on climate change

May 17, 2008

Re "Civilization's last chance," Opinion, May 11

Scientists estimate that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. During that time, the Earth has undergone vast, monumental and violent geologic, tectonic, volcanic and climatic changes. The planet has cooled and warmed, ice ages have come and gone, and natural marvels such as the Grand Canyon and Yosemite Valley were left behind. Entire species have been wiped out, and we don't even know why. In contrast, human beings as we know them have existed for about 200,000 years, and they've been industrialized for a few centuries, a mere blink of an eye compared with the age of the Earth.

The very idea that puny, insignificant humans could cause any discernible change to the climate of the planet because we burned a bit of oil and coal, and the hairbrained notions of Bill McKibben that we can change the climate "back" (whatever that means), are both arrogant and naive in the extreme.

Robert Ostrove

Oxnard

How heartbreakingly fitting that, on Mother's Day, The Times publishes McKibben's article. If those of us who are grandmothers learned that our kids were being held hostage in a schoolroom, we'd certainly do something to try to rescue them. A weapon is pointed at them, but it is carbon-loaded.

Sending a copy of McKibben's disturbing article to at least six friends might prod more of us into immediate consciousness. Our children are at risk; putting our heads in the sand is an act of monumental irresponsibility.

Peg Langhans

Long Beach

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