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Earlier discussion

Martin Mittelstaedt

Continued from Page 3

Cherry On the Globe from Calgary writes: Is there anything that we can do to prevent or delay the global warming? What can we do to save the wildlife in the Arctic from the global warming? In the summer time, when it is extra hot, what can we do to survive? Are there any good tips?

Martin Mittelstaedt: There are any under of good books and websites out there on ways individuals can delay global warming. In general, almost anything you do for the environment will also be good for your pocket book.

I personally do a lot of common sense things. I turn the heat down at night, ride my bike for short trips, use a wind powered clothes drier (a clothes line) and so forth.

One popular book that is now out is George Monbiot's Heat. He's a British reporter and has a lot of good information.

For a Canadian perspective, Guy Dauncey, a Victoria author, has written a good book called Stormy Weather, 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change.

Bart Jessup from Gabriola, BC writes: Dear Mr. Mittelstaedt, how is the public to separate scientific truth from political spin, when even a moment's common sense reflection reveals the political deceptions involved? For example, the Vikings settled Greenland when it was green, within recorded history, so why should we believe that motor vehicles cause global warming? Annual global volcanic activity evidently releases more CO2 than all the motor vehicles on the planet. Solar activity evidently affects climate in decades long cycles. In millenia-long time frames the planet is still emerging from the last ice age, so its CO2 levels are returning to what was normal. Scientists provide conflicting analyses of climate, while still not able to predict annual hurricane seasons accurately. Some scientists have become political activists, no longer respecting scientific standards of peer review. The UN's recent history of massive corruption leaves it without any credibility. Wouldn't a prudent person simply acknowledge that left wing politicians are using global warming as a way to attack productive citizens, and at the same time recognize that conservation is a smart and morally right thing to do for posterity?

Martin Mittelstaedt: Scientists have been looking for natural explanations for the current rise in temperatures, and haven't been able to come up with any that would account for the full extent of warming. The sun's output is up only slightly in recent time, for instance, and volcanic activity (which typically cools the climate) hasn't been able to stop the warming.

As for Greenland, my understanding on how it was named, and this might be the fault of the Ontario educational system in the 1960s, is that Greenland was deliberately named to mislead, so that settlers would be tricked into going to the place from Iceland.

Rebecca Dube, globeandmail.com: That's all the time we have for today. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions and joined us -- you sent in many thoughtful, intelligent questions and I'm sorry we couldn't get to them all. Climate change will be a big focus for The Globe this year, as Mr. Greenspon wrote in his column -- so please look for more discussions on the topic in the coming weeks and months. I also want to thank Mr. Mittelstaedt for joining us today. Martin, any closing thoughts?

Martin Mittelstaedt: In my writing on ecological themes, I've been heartened and touched by the deep concern so many people feel about the environment. I believe there is a huge reservoir of human energy and ingenuity out there to deal with this problem. I think there are far more reasons to be hopeful than pessimistic.

The Globe intends to follow the global warming issue in a big way this year, writing about the developments as they happen. There will be a lot of coverage later this week about the next report on the science of global warming, and I'd urge readers to watch for it.

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