I’m writing in response to Rich Lowry’s December 31 opinion piece on the climate crisis.
His premise is that climate change does not pose an existential threat to humanity and that it’s “preposterous” for President Elect Biden to make that claim. His reasoning requires that we equate existential threat with the threat of human extinction. Then he outlines what in fact are the existential threats of climate change as the reasons why humans won’t go extinct. When sea level rises, we move inland. When temperatures continue to rise, we deploy more air conditioning. When droughts persist, use less water. There’s really nothing to worry about. Human cleverness will save the day.
He then shifts gears. There really isn’t anything bad happening now. “The world has been getting warmer for decades” (currently 2 degrees F above the 1895 – 2015 average) “with no adverse effects on human population or longevity.” Here he dismisses all the unprecedented wild fires, hurricanes producing hundred year rain totals, and record droughts and floods by criticizing the President Elect for claiming that they are caused by climate change. We all know the difference between climate and weather and have heard the scientists insist that any given weather event can’t be directly attributed to climate change. But I invite everyone to step back and look at the totality of weather related disasters over the past 5 years and draw your own conclusions.
Even Mr. Lowry concedes “There is no doubt that human activity contributes to climate change.” So, what is Mr. Lowry’s plan while the world puts 32.5 billion metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere annually (US share 5.1 billion) and the average global temperature rises 1/20 degree F per year? “...seek to understand better and prepare to address through adaptation and innovation should the worst come decades from now.” And what’s President Elect Biden proposing? According to Mr. Lowry “to suspend all rational thought-especially the downsides of costly measures to crimp the US economy in the name of saving the planet” Mr. Lowry doesn’t say what these costly measures are. Here are a few: encourage sustainable energy alternatives, revamp the electrical grid, require more energy efficient buildings, institute more sustainable agricultural practices, encourage the move to electric vehicles, make conventional vehicles more efficient, maybe start planting trees like mad. The list is endless. The article claims we are an innovative species.
Do we follow Mr. Lowry’s advice and sit and contemplate our navels while digging up the Canadian wilderness to get at the tar sands, etc etc i.e. business as usual, or do we start doing what we know must be done and what President Elect Biden is proposing.
Jim DeFelice, Richmond Hill
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