Topic: global warming
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December 4, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Federal carbon tax is the solution
Everyday the media is reporting global warming symptoms (caused by CO2 pollution from burning fossil fuels) more and more frequently: drought, fires, floods, ocean acidification, insect pests moving north destroying forests and bringing tropical diseases [“Arctic Ocean leaking methane at alarming rate, researchers say,” Online, Nov. 30].
Perhaps we are complacent in the Northwest. We don’t see the symptoms as so dangerous to us, as if they are manageable. And the cause, the gases, are invisible to us.
But now comes this news from the Arctic. Methane is being released at twice the predicted rate as the permafrost and ice is melting. Methane is the most dangerous of all the greenhouse gases. It’s 30 to 70 times as damaging as CO2. This will profoundly escalate all the problems for our ecosystems.
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
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
August 13, 2013 at 4:31 PM
Science goes both ways
Jonathan Martin’s lament for the retreating glaciers in Glacier National Park is understandable; If the glaciers continue retreating, the park’s name will no longer be meaningful, and all of us who enjoy the sight of glaciers will miss out. [“Column: Glacier National Park, melting before our eyes,” Opinion, Aug. 12.]
But if we really are to pay attention to science here, and Martin makes clear his disdain for those who would deny science, it’s necessary to point out that these glaciers were first reported shrinking in 1850. That makes sense, because the earth was coming out of the Little Ice Age.
The cause of the retreat of these particular glaciers is probably more directly related to changes in precipitation, not temperature.
The author further complains that he watched “full-size trucks, probably getting no more than 15 miles per gallon, lumber up the incline” at Logan Pass.
Depending on the size of the truck, 15 miles per gallon may not actually be a bad number, and since we are adhering strictly to science, it’s worth noting that raising a certain mass a certain distance will require a certain amount of energy, regardless of what Congress says about it. Perhaps you can move 20 tons of lumber with Prius mileage figures, but I’d guess not. We should think realistically about the science of that, too.
Dennis Evans, Kirkland
July 30, 2013 at 6:52 AM
Give trees a chance
It will take about two weeks to pump the amount of carbon-dioxide equivalent to three hours of coal-power emission into a basalt formation. [“A fix for global warming under our feet?”, page one, July 27.]
Can anyone tell me how many acres of trees we could plant in that time instead? Trees have the obvious benefits of emitting oxygen, while providing beauty, habitat, biodiversity, shade, and water purification. The carbon dioxide drifts to them without human help.
That would be too complicated, I guess.
Ellen Peterson, Seattle
May 15, 2013 at 6:33 AM
Put a price on carbon
While it’s true that 400 parts per million (ppm) is only slightly more damaging than 399 ppm, the sad news is that this new “record” is sure to be broken in a matter of months, first by 401 ppm, then 402 and 403 [“Atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels hit worrisome milestone,” News, May 12].
When will it stop? Whenever we decide to finally stop using fossil fuels. How can we stop such a routine part of our day-to-day lives? By putting a price on carbon, preferably at the source, with the income rebated to all citizens. Join Citizens Climate Lobby to help make this happen. We have a lot of work to do; let’s do it now.
Fran Koehler, Seattle
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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