Topic: climate change
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December 3, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Future generations require our action now
The guest column by Gillen D’Arcy Wood should be a wake-up call for all [“Typhoon Haiyan recalls past global cataclysm,” Opinion, Dec. 1].
The impact of superstorms like Typhoon Haiyan, attributed to warming ocean waters, are a harbinger of the likely future impacts of climate change on a global scale. The frequency of storm-related disasters linked to a warming planet are now irrefutable and are becoming the new normal as a way of life. Echoing the column, “The Haiyan challenge is far greater: to make a stand for humanity’s future on a livable planet.”
November 13, 2013 at 7:05 PM
It is necessary to cut carbon pollution
If I read once more that it’s impossible to attribute single weather events to climate change following a natural disaster of unprecedented scale, I may scream (or cry) [“Experts: Humans also to blame for tragedy,” News, Nov. 12].
This article actually did better than most in discussing the role of climate change in this terrible tragedy.
I understand the nature of the scientific process and the cautious language it employs. But we, as moral actors and decision-makers, must stop pacifying ourselves with such a focus. It undermines the moral urgency of taking bold action against climate disruption while we still can.
We’re already way behind, thanks to special interests’ influence and documented campaigns by the fossil-fuel industry to “manufacture uncertainty” about climate science. We’ve been warned for decades that rising temperatures would yield rising sea levels, more ferocious storms, higher storm surges, increased flooding, drought and more. That’s exactly what we’re seeing. It’s time to stop pretending we’re not sure why and demand decisive action from our leaders to cut carbon pollution now.
Kathy Washienko, Seattle
November 8, 2013 at 7:03 AM
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
November 4, 2013 at 7:03 PM
Social safety net won’t last forever
Our nation faces many threats to its future. One of them is climate change [“Can sea life adapt to souring oceans? page one, Nov. 3].
A huge, whopping carbon tax is probably the only feasible way for the government to influence the market and bring about a change in behavior and products to address climate change.
Another threat is the failure of our social safety net in the short term.
Social Security is the only retirement savings that more than half of us have. How devastating to the economy will it be to have 80 to 90 million of us living in poverty, on $1,200 a month plus food stamps, minus our Medicare premiums? And to be too old to do any meaningful physical work? Can you live that way?
Republicans offer cuts to Medicare and Social Security, and say no to a carbon tax. This is a slow snowball of a crisis that will crush our nation if not addressed in a meaningful way.
Will our public debt be as crushing? And for whom? I don’t own any Treasury bills, but I will collect Social Security. If I live through the crop failures, storms and forest fires.
This is not the time to reach a balanced compromise with deniers of science and math.
Robert Reed, Seattle
October 31, 2013 at 7:02 PM
West coast at the forefront of strategic alignment to combat climate change and promote clean energy
Great move by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, California Gov. Jerry Brown, and B.C. Premier Christy Clark in signing a joint climate change accord that will cover the length of the North American west coast.
Let’s hope the legislatures for the states and province involved get behind this and give it some teeth. I have long wondered when a real leader would step forward and do something about climate change — words are a nice first step, but real action counts far more.
Let’s hope this plan is the step forward that is needed. Too many people worry about the money they can make today or tomorrow, and to heck with the consequences. However, our children and our children’s children will have much different feelings about the impacts of climate change. Thank you governors and premier for your leadership and vision on this critical matter.
Mike Shaw, Edmonds
October 9, 2013 at 7:09 PM
We need to make climate change a priority
I want to say, in the midst of the unnecessary and relatively absurd current hoopla in Washington, D.C., thanks for your story last week on the IPCC report. It’s another confirmation by the best international scientists of our moment of jeopardy and opportunity.
Yes, the situation is dire. If we’d like to keep our planet recognizable, we have to live within a 1-trillion ton carbon budget. We’ve spent more than half of it already. By 2040, we’ll be “over budget” if we don’t make changes.
But we can do something. Since Congress has failed to respond, the president is stepping up with regulations to limit carbon emissions. It’s a good start, but I’m hoping the United States will follow the lead of France, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland and the Republic of Ireland and enact a market-based solution, like a carbon tax. A number of conservatives — Art Laffer, Greg Mankiw, George Shultz — support a revenue-neutral carbon tax to reduce the effects of climate change. A tax on carbon would fix the distortion in the marketplace that leaves fossil fuels unaccountable for the damage they do to society.
Citizens are ready to do more than change lightbulbs. We’re ready to pay modest increases for gas at the pump when we know it’s part of a shared plan to combat the disastrous changes we’re seeing already: bigger wildfires, more destructive floods, more severe droughts, and ocean acidification — which The Times profiled so well in its recent series. And with a revenue-neutral tax, we wouldn’t sacrifice much, since we would receive dividends that would help us redirect our spending toward more efficient systems for getting around and heating our homes.
Mary K. Manous, Seattle
September 18, 2013 at 7:19 AM
The Seattle Times is to be commended for its series on sea change. [“Sea Change,” page one, Sept. 15-17.]
Far too few citizens and world leaders are aware of the disastrous effects of climate change and ocean acidification on our planet.
Only by recognizing what is happening and taking necessary, corrective actions can we reverse these man-made catastrophes.
Jeremy Mattox, publisher of the Environmental Services Directory for Washington State, Seattle
Every American seems to have an opinion about greenhouse gases and climate change, aka “global warming.” The Seattle Times’ report on ocean acidification due to carbon dioxide was a timely addition to our understanding of the damage caused to aquatic life by atmospheric carbon emissions.
Environmental Protection Agency figures show that every year, the US emits about 5,630 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and yet we not only persist in burning huge amounts coal, we are engaged in a debate about building coal-port terminals to ship more of this stuff to China, which will inevitably poison the air and the oceans even further.
Your article should be a wake-up call to legislators and government regulators. I suspect, though, that the ‘deniers’ will simply hit the snooze button and continue to ignore the dangers.
Readers, send copies of this report to your congressional representatives, urging them to take action now. Your grandchildren will thank you.
Richard Hodsdon, Seattle
September 14, 2013 at 7:57 AM
Carbon tax is a good solution
Boy, do we need some congressional attention to climate change. [“Special report: Sea Change,” seattletimes.com, Sept. 13.]
The House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce is actually holding a hearing on Sept. 18.
However, the title is, “The Obama Administration’s Climate Change Policies and Activities.” Since many House members have been critical of President Obama’s intention to use the Environmental Protection Agency to bypass a neglectful Congress, it looks like this hearing could turn into another negative exercise, instead of a serious look at the critical, urgent matter of responding to carbon dioxide emissions increases.
What if, instead of attacking the president’s plan, the hearing focused on the science and on solutions that might provide an alternative to regulations?
I’m guessing many of the conservatives and former presidential advisers who favor a carbon tax are itching to be invited. A carbon tax that gives revenue back to the taxpayer is a truly conservative, market-based approach.
Distributing the carbon-tax revenue back to the public would give consumers the additional income to deal with the price increases that would result from companies paying this tax. Making the carbon tax revenue-neutral aligns with the Republican principle of keeping the federal government from growing larger.
Let’s not just sit back and see what happens at the hearing. Let’s urge our representatives to broaden the agenda of their climate-change hearing to focus on science and solutions.
Mary Davies, Seattle
August 21, 2013 at 7:27 PM
Beating the weather
Leading up to the Seattle mayoral elections, we find yet another discrediting article on Mike McGinn. [“Mayor had coal-study findings since July,” page one, Aug. 20.]
Still unexamined is how the 18 coal trains each day will keep rolling along during the routine track closures from seasonal mudslides between Seattle and Everett.
Maybe the Times-endorsed candidate and former state Senate budget czar Ed Murray can “collaborate” a fix in the weather?
Peter Beaulieu, Shoreline
Two stories, one global issue
I found it interesting that, on Aug. 20, one front-page article addressed the worldwide cost [“Scientists: sea level may rise 3 feet by 2100,” page one, Aug. 20], and another the local cost, of continuing to burn fossil fuels at a breakneck pace.
The report on the impact of 18 coal trains per day through Seattle had significant consequences for our own community in terms of dollars and cents, but also to our health and safety.
The article on the worldwide impact of increasing carbon dioxide output, translated from the impassive scientific terms and even in its least extreme predictions, sounded nothing short of catastrophic to the global community.
When will we come to our senses and insist that our country turn away from this path to disaster and invest in clean alternative energy sources?
Lisa Dekker, Seattle
August 14, 2013 at 7:32 PM
Climate change is cyclical
By neglecting to mention that the Earth has been warming and glaciers receding since the end of the last major ice age more than 10,000 years ago, Jonathan Martin implies that man is solely responsible for climate change. [“Glacier National Park, melting before our eyes,” Opinion, Aug. 12.]
That’s like accusing someone of littering, while failing to point out that it happened in a pre-existing garbage dump.
Man is contributing to climate change, but the process began long before the industrial age; it would be going on even if man had never left the stone age, and it will end when natural forces return the world to a cooling cycle.
I suspect that efforts by man to slow or stop climate change will be as effective as trying to tidy the garbage dump by picking up a few candy wrappers.
Gerry Bruder, Seattle
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