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Letter: Clarifying what he was saying

Craig Wruck (Bulletin Jan. 23) charges that I am "bent on halting meaningful discussion of global climate change...," a reference to a Viewpoint column that was published several weeks ago.

Regrettably, Wruck apparently found it difficult to follow my line of reasoning, thus leading him to totally misconstrue/misinterpret what I was trying to say.

So what was I trying to say? I was attempting -- obviously with only limited success -- to point out that impugning the motives of people involved in a controversy ultimately leads nowhere. Both sides end up being dismissed -- discredited? -- and the merits of the argument are left to languish.

In this context, then, the global warming debate was used as an example -- an example only -- of the extent to which ad hominem arguments have disfigured an important debate, frustrating the legitimate and fruitful exchange of ideas and viewpoints.

But Wruck, confusedly thinking that I was talking about global warming as such, decided to attack on that front. Unfortunately, it was the wrong front.

Or perhaps not. Maybe he wasn't at all interested in what I had to say. Maybe he just wanted an opportunity to tell us that we Americans are an environmentally unfriendly bunch. And to claim that we now have "the tools and technology we need to begin to address the climate crisis...".

Apparently he thinks that if we were to pull these tools off the shelf, we could move painlessly from an economy that now relies on fossil fuels for about 85 percent of its energy to a beautiful green, climate friendly economy.

For many people, myself included, this is just so much wishful thinking. Wishful thinking because it implies easy solutions to a problem that may or may not exist and because it assumes solutions that may or may not be viable -- at least in the short run.

Thomas St. Martin