Opinion

Letters to the editor for March. 4

Human activity causing global warming trend

Recent letters to The Olympian have stated that man-made global warming is junk science and that Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" is political propaganda. The letters remind me of columnist Jonah Goldberg, who has argued that we cannot afford to fix global warming and that it's not a big problem anyway.

To all such thinkers, I offer these reminders:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a report stating a 90 percent likelihood that human activity is responsible for the current global warming trend. To reach this conclusion, hundreds of experts in the relevant sciences pored over peer-reviewed literature from around the world. The IPCC was established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme, not by America's Democratic Party.

A few weeks after the IPCC report came out, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society, officially stated its view that global warming caused by human activity poses an increasing threat to human societies. In support of this view, John P. Holdren, president of the AAAC and director of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, cites dwindling glaciers, rising sea levels, changing ranges for flora and fauna, and increasingly severe weather extremes, among other evidence.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still cling to the idea that scientists who spend their lives studying our oceans and atmospheres know more about climate change than Republican apparatchiks and an ill-educated public that remains unsure about whether life evolved.

James Grossmann, Lacey

Warming helps stave off a new ice age

There has been a lot of hand wringing about global warming but I would like to advance another point of view.

There was an article in "Scientific American" a few months ago that contained a graph which showed that progress toward the next ice age would have been much advanced by now but for the intervention of global warming over the last centuries.

The same graph showed that global temperatures have skyrocketed in the last century. The last part of the graph illustrated what would happen if fossil fuels were gone and global temperatures returned to normal; we would be halfway back to a new ice age!

I feel we cannot let global warming stop completely but "managed" so that we can stabilize temperatures at a reasonable level.

Twenty thousand years ago, this area was under 100 feet of ice. Why would we think that a new ice age would be any different? Climate management would be the ultimate human skill!

Bob Lux, Shelton

Future park bonds were jeopardized

If the city of Olympia had taken the pasture adjacent to the Ott family home via eminent domain, I never again would have voted for parks money.

Bebe Martin, Olympia

Drug advertising helps educate consumers

Mike Flothe says that if pharmaceutical companies stop advertising prescription drugs they can use the savings to lower the drugs' cost. The facts do not support that conclusion.

In a December 2003, the Federal Trade Commission concluded that advertising prescription drugs does not raise drug prices. In 2000, advertising of prescription drugs totaled approximately $2.5 billion ("Prescription Drug Mass Media Advertising, November 2000") or roughly 2 percent of prescription drug expenditures of $132 billion ("Prescription Drug Expenditures, May 2000"). Such advertising does not increase the prescription of inappropriate drugs. Less than 9 percent of people who see a prescription drug ad ask their doctor for a specific drug (Source: "Prescription Drug Mass Media Advertising, Sept. 2000").

Advertising prescription drugs educates consumers and raises their awareness of health care choices. They are informed of their alternatives for treatment of health problems. Prescription drug advertising is constitutionally protected commercial speech. In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Virginia law that prohibited advertising prescription drug prices, saying that the advantages of the ban were the "advantages of (consumers) being kept in ignorance."

Washington's broadcasters receive income from prescription drug advertising, but the steadily rising cost of health care in general, and prescription medication in particular, is of concern to us all us. However, the answer cannot be found in keeping consumers ignorant of their health care choices.

Mark Allen, president and CEO, Washington State Association of Broadcasters

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