Explore the science
EDITOR: Your Jan. 11 editorial (“A cold-fueled climate debate”) could bear repeating during summer hot spells when global warming predictions are more prevalent. Our scientific establishment clearly failed to predict the present 10-15 year temperature plateau, but just as likely to be wrong are assertions that the pollution we spew into the environment has absolutely no effect.
Ironically, the United States is the only major world power reducing carbon emissions, thanks to fracking and the resulting boom in cleaner-burning natural gas. Europe and China are both busy constructing dirty coal plants for the majority of the time when their more-publicized wind and sun plants are idle. China already burns more coal than the rest of the world combined.
The Russian scientist recently predicting an ice age may be no more right than the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report reiterating warming alarms, but I feel the issue has been tracked for too short a time (with pre-conceived agendas on both sides) for firm conclusions to be drawn. Let's just pollute as little as we can while funding science on both sides of the debate.
GMOs and 'superweeds'
EDITOR: As a subscriber to the New York Times, I read the original version of the article you published about genetically modified organisms (“Hawaiian's lonely quest for GMO facts,” Jan. 5). I was shocked to discover that the original article was twice as long as the version you published and that yours didn't include the (brief) mention of a major downside of GMOs: the development of “superweeds” requiring more potent herbicides.
Weeds have developed resistance to the herbicide Roundup, so the next generation of genetically engineered seeds is designed to be used with the more potent herbicide 2,4-D which was a component of Agent Orange, the chemical defoliant used in Vietnam. According to the Center for Food Safety, 2,4-D is contaminated with dioxins, which have been linked with major health problems including cancer, Parkinson's disease, endocrine disruption and reproductive problems. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering whether to approve corn and soybeans genetically engineered by Dow Chemical to be used with 2,4-D.