I read with interest Alan Boone’s Maine Voices column (“World was warmer in the past without terrible effects,” March 17). As a geologist, I am aware that global warming and cooling are cyclical events, and that the melting of the great North American ice sheets began long before our large-scale use of fossil fuels and associated CO2 emissions. While CO2 may play a role, larger forces are at work, as detailed in Mr. Boone’s column.

The title of the piece, though, is troubling in its implication that global warming is without serious impact. The melting of glaciers and the polar ice caps, rise in sea level, and changing habitat pose real threats to our planet’s species, including humankind. Further, Mr. Boone’s implication that changes in our energy management policy are unwarranted ignores the very real threat posed by fossil fuel emissions and our dependence on foreign oil. In addition to CO2, fossil fuel emissions contain heavy metals, sulfur, nitrous oxides, formaldehyde and many other pollutants that contribute to smog and breathing disorders.

For these reasons, exploration of alternative energy sources should remain a priority. Maine should seek to lead the country in the development of responsible wind, hydro/tidal and solar power projects. To maintain the status quo, regardless of the causes of global warming, would be seriously shortsighted.