Context Needed on Global Warming Reporting

Published November 28, 2006

Dear Editors:

Regarding the Washington Post‘s November 26 article “On the Move to Outrun Climate Change,” the authors regrettably fail to provide context and balance to their assertions regarding global warming.

The authors assert that polar bears at Hudson Bay are declining in number due to global warming, yet fail to mention that, according to the World Wildlife Fund, only two of the world’s 20 distinct polar bear populations are in decline, and that just as many distinct populations are growing.

The authors assert that tropical frogs in mountaintop regions are dying off, but fail to mention that a regional fungus outbreak–rather than global warming–has been the primary culprit.

The authors assert that the first six months of the year were the warmest on record in the United States, but fail to mention that temperatures have cooled since.

The authors report the sea level has risen 9 inches at Cape Sable, Florida since the 1930s, but fail to mention that global sea level has been rising for the past 10,000 years, long before human carbon dioxide emissions. While sea level may have risen 9 inches in the past 70 years, sea level has risen an average of 36 inches per century since the end of the last ice age.

The authors assert that alpine glaciers at Glacier National Park have declined 73 percent since 1850, but fail to mention that the world was gripped by the Little Ice Age in 1850, subjecting world ecosystems to abnormally cold and life-depriving temperatures. The year 1850 is neither a representative nor a desirable baseline from which to measure ideal global temperatures.

James Taylor ([email protected]) is senior fellow for environmental affairs for The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.