BYRNE REPLIES: The historical record shows that DeWitt was initially troubled by Everett’s theory. “I simply do not branch,” he wrote in May 1957. He dropped that objection after Everett pointed out that the earth moves, even though we do not feel it.
In “Enough Hot Air Already” [Perspectives], the editors say that because our legislators avoid carbon taxes as political suicide, we should adopt a national cap-and-trade market as an alternative. But in “Making Carbon Markets Work,” David G. Victor and Danny Cullenward describe the process of allocating emission credits as “politically charged and corruption-prone.” I would add to this the likelihood that given the complexities of a cap-and-trade system, it would take years to get the necessary details agreed on. Congress is still far from passing any bill since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said in January 2007 that global-warming legislation would be a top priority. A cap-and-trade system requires acceptance of different credits by numerous industries and commercial establishments. Existing heavy emitters will insist on grandfather status; companies such as DuPont that have already cut emissions will want exemption from further cuts.
Maybe the step-by-step global approach described by Jeffrey D. Sachs in “Meaningful Goals for Climate Talks” [Sustainable Developments] should be applied to our domestic situation. There are several immediate steps that would make some cuts while Congress debates a carbon tax.
Although the researchers cited in “Use It or Lose It,” by Nikhil Swaminathan [News Scan], claim to be investigating the English language, they appear to be studying the emerging American language specifically. It may surprise them to learn that in the country that produced Beowulf, the past tense form of the irregular verb “to slink” resolutely remains “slunk.”
Perhaps research should be redirected into estimating how long it will be before the English and American languages can be considered separate, so that two great nations can get on with the daily business of misunderstanding each other properly?