Global warming is not in any way a good thing
To the editor:
In Mr. Brittain’s letter to the editor on March 9, he posed the question: Is global warming going to be all that bad?
He accurately listed the effects of coastal flooding, large precipitation events, droughts, hurricanes and a hotter planet. He then described some potential positive effects of those disasters. People in floods could move inland and could get “nice new houses” and construction jobs would increase. Hurricanes don’t cause “much loss of life.” A hotter planet wouldn’t be a problem because there would be “more habitable land in Canada and Siberia.”
He went on to say that people will just adjust to these changes over time without the need for government intervention. I am not an activist, politician or intellectual but to minimize the impact of global warming to the degree that Mr. Brittain did is to totally ignore facts agreed upon by scientists around the world.
There is a 97 percent expert consensus that humans are responsible for the sudden increase in carbon dioxide emissions. The carbon dioxide emissions are caused by burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. The United States and China create the most emissions.
2016 was the hottest year on record. The 12 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998. Over the past 130 years, the global average temperature has increased 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit, with more than half of that increase occurring over only the past 35 years. It doesn’t seem like a big change in temperature but the effects are monumental.
The blanket of warmth around the earth changes the ecosystems that provide us with food. Glaciers melt and the oceans overtake the land. The ocean absorbs the carbon dioxide which acidifies so that fish and other marine life cannot exist. Agriculture is affected by the droughts and floods and increased wildfires. Allergies, asthma and infectious disease outbreaks will become more common due to higher levels of air pollution and the spread of conditions favorable to pathogens and mosquitos.
If the emissions accumulate unabated there will be irrevocable changes to the environment which sustains our lives.
The concept is simple to me. If we don’t take care of the earth, eventually, we won’t exist anymore. The resources will run out. Natural disasters have increased significantly and drastically since the industrial revolution. The cost to the U.S. economy in 2017 from these weather related disasters was $306 billion! Thousands of lives have been lost in these disasters.
We can either choose to protect the earth’s limited resources for future generations or squander them. We can sit by and accept that disasters will happen more frequently or we can take steps to reduce our use of fossil fuels and support actions that will reduce global warming. In 2017, the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation because it was believed that the agreement would hurt American businesses and workers and undermine the U.S. economy.
It absolutely would negatively affect the fossil fuel industry (coal mining, gas and oil) but it would create jobs in new energy technology, the production of wind and solar energy, batteries for electrical storage, electric vehicles, etc. Why continue with 20th century energy technology when the rest of the world is committed to a future with 21st century technology?
This will not be easy or convenient but our very existence depends upon it. It’s called progress, innovation and adaptation. Concepts which have made the USA the greatest country in the world!