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30 Fairmont Park Lane S
Lethbridge, AB
T1K 7H7
Phone: (403) 328-1804
Monday, November 14, 2005
The Editor
The Lethbridge Herald
P.O. Box 670
AB, T1J 3Z7
Dear Editor, 

Re: Comments disheartening to scientists 

A recent David Suzuki column skillfully used the results of a European study of the effects of the 2003 drought on plant growth to promote the theory that global warming from fossil fuel emissions is a looming disaster.  

Many of our local scientists are agricultural experts. Some have been involved in studying aspects of the role plants play in the cycling of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, through the atmosphere. I submitted some comments on the column which the Herald published about a month ago. I hoped that would trigger some input from our local experts which would help us understand the insignificance of the study Dr. Suzuki touted so extensively. 

To date only one local scientist has shown interest. David Major’s letter of 05/10/26 cited studies at the Lethbridge Research Centre which indicated “even the most sophisticated computer models are unable to predict the impact of climate change on rangeland and forests”. I can certainly appreciate that difficulty. It is debatable that “sophisticated” computer models can predict climate change itself with confidence. However, Dr. Major seems to have some doubts about my credentials in this field. 

My seven years of formal education to earn a Ph.D. in engineering included extensive science courses in fluid flow and heat transfer by radiation and convection. My engineering experience included computer modeling of these phenomena. These sciences are fundamental to the modeling of climate. In addition I studied combustion and heat engines extensively. As a result I am well versed in the generation of greenhouse gases and pollutants from the burning of fossil fuel to efficiently produce the energy we need. I do not claim to be a climate science expert, but I’m less modest with respect to the generation and management of greenhouse gases. I am continually amazed by people with much less training and experience than I, relevant to climate change, who make confident predictions a global warming catastrophe is imminent. I do feel a sense of responsibility, as a professional engineer, to try and put these predictions in perspective. Should Dr. Major need more information on my credentials he could ask Google. A Google search based on the words (resumes climate change engineers) yields my resume as number 1 of 1.4 million hits today. 

In closing, Mr. Major indicates that “it must be disheartening to the many outstanding scientists who toil away quietly while uninformed amateurs spout off in the media”. He says we owe them a debt of gratitude. I agree with that, and add that those Lethbridge scientists involved with some aspect of climate change owe taxpayers a return on our investment in them by speaking up   to help us understand the underlying science. 


Yours truly, 


Duane Pendergast


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