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Reader's view: Resist calls to smother climate debate

Climate activists apparently feel opinions contrary to their own about the causes and consequences of climate change are not only wrong but so offensive they must be kept out of the News Tribune (Reader’s View: “Don't publish letters that deny climate change,” March 5). I am certainly glad the editorial page editor recognizes that free and open debate about such important and complex topics is essential in a free society and so should not be smothered .

Contrary to the implications of climate campaigners, no sensible person, and certainly no scientist, denies that climate changes. Geology professor Tim Patterson of Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, explained, “Climate is and always has been variable. The only constant about climate is change; it changes continually.” Scientists such as Patterson who research and, yes, dare question the causes of climate change, deny that they deny climate change; they are denial deniers.

Climatologist Tim Ball, another opponent of the alarmists’ position, maintains that climate activists insult everyone else when they assume they are the only ones who care about the environment.

It may (or may not, depending on who you read) be true that “97 percent of climate scientists say human-caused climate change is real and is happening at a much faster pace than originally thought,” as the March 5 letter stated. But that is irrelevant to anyone but specialists in the field. All that matters from a policy perspective is whether experts agree we are causing climate change that is so dangerous it is worth spending hundreds of billions of dollars to try to stop. Such a poll never has been conducted.

There are many problems in the world today, including environmental ones, that we know we cause and we know how to stop. Let’s focus on those instead of pretending we have a crystal ball to future climate states.

Tom Harris

Ottawa, Ontario