It is time to act
I am a statistician. I remember the old so-called “uncertainty” about whether smoking causes cancer. There was good science and clear statistical evidence for the harm, but tobacco companies and a few hired scientists managed to delay action by spreading doubt, and people kept dying ["Obama signs order on response to climate change," Online, Nov. 1].
We’re in the same situation now — a few deniers are delaying action on climate change, claiming uncertainty.
The only real uncertainty left is just how bad it will be, and that is no excuse for inaction. If you’re driving too fast and are about to plow into a crowd of schoolchildren, do you keep going full-speed ahead because you don’t know how many of them you’ll kill?
Oysters are dying. Trees are dying. Coral is dying. Polar bears are dying. Crops are dying. And people are dying. It is time to act.
Tim Hesterberg, Ph.D. Seattle