Letters for Jan. 18, 2015

• Climate science proven beyond doubt • Movie chronicles more than one real story 

Climate science proven beyond doubt

Tom Harris suggests intellectuals are obligated to speak publicly upon seeing “fundamental errors in thinking in the climate debate. The stakes are too high to accept anything less.”

You betcha! For years, I’ve been speaking as a Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteer. A rabbi with a doctorate in Bible, I teach text, theology, and philosophy. I also write letters to newspapers urging Congress to enact a carbon tax fully rebated to the public. This policy corrects a basic flaw in fossil fuel pricing that allows fossil fuel users to pollute for free. A carbon pollution tax levels the playing field for clean energies, allowing the free market to decide equitably between energy options. Economic studies show this policy will reduce emissions while sustaining economic growth.

Harris also says, “the belief that scientists discover truths … should be publicly refuted by intellectuals. Truth applies to mathematics but never to our findings about nature which are merely educated opinions based on scientists’ interpretations of observations. Since observations always have some degree of uncertainty, they cannot prove anything true.”

My husband, a mathematician, specializing in probability theory and data analysis says: “Nonsense. The law of gravity isn’t known with 100 percent certainty. We accept gravity as true because we’re satisfied with 99.9999 percent, and even much lower standards. Climate science has passed the point of certainty, ethically requiring global action.”

Low gas prices give Congress an opportunity to enact legislation and send U.S. delegates to Paris with negotiating power. Find out about CCL’s Pathway to Paris proposal.

Judy Weiss

Brookline, Mass.

Movie chronicles more than one real story

A new movie opened up in Lihue: “Unbroken.”

It is the film version of the book by Laura Hillenbrand of the same name. That book tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a one-time Olympic runner and an officer bombardier during World War II. He survived crashing in the ocean, floating on a raft for 47 days, and spending more than two years as a POW in Japan. It is a brutal, gut-wrenching story of survival under terrible conditions and a paean to the human spirit.

I have not seen the film, so I cannot speak to its dramatic qualities. The book is both moving and frightening and I can speak to the truth of the picture that the book portrays.

Kauai has it’s own Zamperini. I say “has,” even though he passed away two years ago. My father, Charles “Pete” Peterson, spent the last 31 years of his life living quietly here on Kauai. He is buried, with his beloved wife Dottie, at the Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe. He was captured by the Japanese early in 1942, when the U.S. forces defending the island fortress of Corregidor were forced to surrender. He survived three and a half years in Japanese prison camps. Beaten, starved, forced into slave labor, his spirit, like Zamperini’s, was unbroken.

He read the book shortly before he passed away. His only comment was “over dramatic, but true.” I know. I heard all the stories – at least the “scrubbed” versions — growing up. He made the mile-plus swim from Bataan to Corregidor, hanging on to a piece of wood, to escape the enveloping Japanese invasion of the Philippines. Wounded twice, he survived the daily bombardments on Corregidor and the eventual fall of the island. Marched through Bataan to POW camps in Cabanatuan and the rest of the Philippines, he survived starvation, frequent beatings, forced labor and disease. Stuffed into the hold of a leaky transport ship with hundreds of other prisoners, he was shipped to Japan where his treatment continued until the Japanese surrendered in 1945. He survived.

Eventually repatriated at the end of the war, he let go of the pain, made a life for himself, married my mother and eventually retired here on Kauai. He passed away in 2012, after a short illness, and is buried at the Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe, only yards from his best friend on the island, a Japanese-American.

Bill Peterson


Why are officials silent on dairy farm?

What is perplexing given the all but overwhelming data warning of the adverse consequences of HDF’s proposal to the economy and character of Kauai is the thundering silence from our elected officials.

Were this a proposal to site a nuclear generating power station in the Wailua River Valley, I believe they might be willing to voice a position pro or con. You think?

Frank Kelly



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