To the editor:
With summer’s heat behind us, it’s a good time to reflect on the emerging picture of our climate. The National Climate Data Center says this was the third-hottest summer in the U.S. since 1895, and more disturbing: ALL of the 10 hottest global sea and land temperature anomalies since 1880 have occurred since 1997. An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Control 2012 report concludes that extreme weather intensity and frequency is increasing, including both catastrophic flooding and droughts like the one we’re still in.
At www.Climate.gov you can monitor the changing carbon dioxide levels, ocean heat, acidity and sea levels, shrinking arctic ice and glaciers. The American Meteorological Society released a statement last month that climate change is real, is caused by human activity, and that “(a)voiding this future warming will require a large and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. The ongoing warming will increase risks and stresses to human societies, economies, ecosystems, and wildlife through the 21st century and beyond, making it imperative that society respond to a changing climate.”
Every major scientific organization agrees. Fossil fuels are the major source of greenhouse gases. The G20’s “Analysis of the Scope of Energy Subsidies” estimates that fossil fuels receive $400 billion to $500 billion annually. Our political leaders need to show some real leadership and question this practice. Another promising possibility is a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend returned directly to the people, who can then choose to support low-carbon energy sources. The longer we wait, though, the more expensive and less effective it will be.