Skepticism isn't about denying the facts

In its rush to discredit those they call "global warming extremists" ("Climate data chills global-warming alarmism," Feb. 6) the Orange County Register makes the all-too-typical error of throwing the science out with the politics. While it is easy to criticize people like the nameless government official quoted in the article saying entire nations would be wiped out by rising sea levels, one must remember that such wild claims are not a basis to criticize the actual science.

If the Register contented itself by pointing out the wild claims of some, they might have counted on my support. After all, I believe that Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" did more harm than good in bringing public attention to the real issue of climate change.

Unfortunately, the Register opens not with the aforementioned official, but with the demonstrably false claim that there has been no warming in 15 years. This statement stands in stark contrast to the statements and data sets released by NASA, NOAA, and even the East Anglia Climate Research Center that say that the previous decade has been the warmest on record ("NOAA: Past Decade Warmest on Record According to Scientists in 48 Countries," July 28, 2010), that 2010 was the 3rd warmest year on record. None of these facts are surprising to those who pay attention more to the actual science than they do the politics of the said science. Indeed, all the aforementioned facts have been reconfirmed by a former climate change "skeptic," Richard Muller, in his Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project (berkeleyearth.org).

So what does this data all mean? It means that while it is proper and indeed healthy for newspapers like the Orange County Register to be critical and skeptical of government officials, it is not proper to deny science without basis. Such denial is unintentional ignorance at best, intentional deception at worst. Only when we proper deference to and acceptance of the science can we have a proper debate on policy.

The Register ends by pointing out a recent op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal by several scientists minimizing the climate change problem. What the article does not mention, probably due to the timing of the publications, is that there was a response, this time not only from a larger number of scientist but more importantly by climatologists. The piece pointed out that one goes to the dentist about one's teeth, and to the cardiologist about one's heart, and that one should do the same regarding the climate. This advice holds true for all the sciences. It would be better for all involved if the Register followed this advice.

Vincent Lovato, Barstow

Streets, not circles

Round and round and round we go, how we get off nobody knows!

Another fine example of idiocy from the Barstow City Council. We neither want nor need a roundabout in Barstow. Can you imagine the traffic jams this would cause to say nothing of the city and school buses trying to navigate this on their daily runs? What would be the point?

This money $80,000, according to the Desert Dispatch article would be far better spent on paving and repainting the lane lines on Mountain View Ave. from Main Street all the way up, especially the area in front of City Hall. At night, the line are so indistinct as to be nonexistent. Let's get our priorities straight!

Antoinette Holmeyer, Barstow