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Your editorial (Danger in a paler shade of green, 26 December) lamented the results of a survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showing a declining community concern about the environment. You sought to explain this by reference to, among other things, the improvement in quality of city air and the remoteness of potential environmental threats from greenhouse gas emissions.
However, you omitted to mention the growing scepticism about the reality of the greenhouse gas bogeyman that has been used by green lobby groups and some sections of the scientific community to frighten governments into taking action that would reduce economic growth and living standards. This scepticism is highlighted by the petition which has now been signed by about 19,000 US scientists with advanced academic degrees urging the US Government to reject the global warming agreement written in Kyoto in December 1997. Those scientists include some of the panel which produced the report claiming there is a consensus that global warming is a serious threat.
The petition states that the proposed limits on greenhouse gases would actually harm the environment and that increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere produce many beneficial effects. Faced with such a strong petition, it is difficult to believe that any government could contemplate signing the Kyoto protocol and that the wider community could take seriously the notion that greenhouse gases constitute a serious threat.