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May 10, 2013 at 11:43 AM
Seattle should be carbon neutral by 2020
I applaud city leaders for promoting a carbon-neutral plan for Seattle by 2050 [“Seattle plan would make city carbon neutral by 2050,” NWMonday, May 6]. Nevertheless, 2050 is far too distant a target. Most of the council will be dead by then, so it’s really an empty promise to make.Much more important is how much we cut our carbon emissions in the next decade. Dutch government scientific advisers estimate the rich countries must reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2020 if we are to have an even chance of limiting global temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius. Two degrees is the widely agreed upon limit for dangerous climate change. We have already raised temperatures by 0.8 degrees and we have lost most of the Arctic ice. Two degrees by midcentury will be playing with fire.
The Center for American Progress estimates we spent $188 billion on climate-related disasters in the last three years alone. That’s $400 per household. If people think converting to a low-carbon economy will be expensive, they ought to try to imagine how much we would have to spend in a 2 (or more) degree future, or how we will feed ourselves with growing populations, more extreme weather and lower crop yields.
The City Council should go back to the drawing board and offer us a responsible plan for significant carbon abatement by 2020 that is more in line with our intelligence and conscience.
Colin Wright, Seattle
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