To the editor:
I have just read a sort of quotation from George Will about the non-existence of a condition called “global warming.” I don’t question the credentials of Mr. Will as a conservative pundit; but his knowledge of climatology needs about two centuries of updating.
Those who frequent the higher mountain areas of this world are painfully aware of the disappearance of many snowfields and glaciers. Over a lifetime misspent in the mountains, I have personally witnessed this phenomenon in various ranges of North America. If any of those deliberately uninformed people would look at some of the literature of mountaineering — going back for almost two centuries, now — they,too, would find ample documentation that the world’s mountain glaciers are fast melting away.
This is not, however, a new phenomenon in Earth history, but since the human life span is so short, relative to the enormity of geologic time, we see as catastrophic, many of the events that are routine. Our Holy Scripture leads us to believe the world was created in 4004 BCE (late on an afternoon in October, according to Bishop Henry Ussher) pretty much as we see it now. But the record of geologic history shows that since the melting of the great Pleistocene ice sheets, some 11,000 years ago, Earth’s climate has varied with considerable frequency.
Man started burning fossil fuels in great abundance only some 200 years ago, changing the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere by a large amount, and the input of energy from the Sun has been relatively constant for the last 400 years, so who, or what, else is to blame for the disappearance of the glaciers?
If you, Mr. Will — and/or any other scoffers — would like to learn more, so as to better inform the public, I’d be happy to stir my 88-year-old bones and escort everyone to a scene of this sort of action.
WILLIAM LOWELL PUTNAM