Correspondent of the Day: Column disguises opinions as facts

The following is a letter by William O’Keefe, CEO of the Marshall Institute published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

It is distressing that Mona Sarfaty and Marybeth Montoro use their medical and public health backgrounds to mask a political agenda. In their Op/Ed column, “Climate change is harming our health,” they assert that allergy sufferers’ misery is getting worse each year and climate change is the cause. They also assert that climate change “may lead to air that is unsafe to breathe.”

Their column is about providing a fig leaf to support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan regulation mandating a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030.

The late Daniel Patrick Moyniyhan observed that we are entitled to our own opinions, just not our own facts. This column masks opinion as fact. The Environmental Almanac published by the Pacific Research Institute makes that abundantly clear. Its last report stated: “The improvement in air quality is the greatest public policy success story of the last generation.” Ozone and particulates show the greatest improvement. Air quality is getting better, not worse and CDC data show improvement in health quality measues.

Allergies, especially asthma, are complex medical problems. Claiming that ozone levels, which have been steadily declining, are the cause of increased incidences of asthma leads to a perverse inference. That is, higher levels of ozone reduce asthma attacks. The absurdity of that is obvious.

Climate always changes, always has, and always will. Over the course of the past 115 years, temperatures have risen, fallen and then risen again. For the past 18 years satellite measurements (the only global measurements) show no real increase in temperatures.

Blaming carbon dioxide, a necessary nutrient for plant, crop and forest growth, for climate change is the height of folly and blindness to facts.

Bill O’Keefe


This letter was published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch at

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