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Opinion

Our grim climate reality: Even with action now, our planet will continue to cook

To the editor: The Times’ editorial on the planet’s growing climate crisis couldn’t be clearer about the urgency of the problem. What adds to scientists’ sense of alarm is the understanding that climate change is not just another environmental problem. (“The world is warming even faster than expected. Trump isn't going to act. The rest of us need to step up,” editorial, Nov. 4

The script we usually follow goes like this: We pollute until we can’t stand the pain anymore. Then we repent and pass laws to fix the problem. Mother Nature begins to repair the damage and things go back to normal.

Climate change won’t follow this pattern. Someday we will stop contributing to the greenhouse gas overload, but the Earth will keep heating with added carbon dioxide still in the atmosphere for decades to come. When warming finally levels off, it will stay high for generations, continuing to raise sea levels and generate powerful storms and scorching droughts.

We must focus on the legacy we’re leaving to our grandchildren.

Michael Segor, San Luis Obispo

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To the editor: Most likely, the majority of your readership already accepts much of what is in your editorial. It will spur some to take on more political action, such as joining with others to push for a fee-and-dividend program, which has been touted as the most efficient and productive method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

However, there must be a more effective way of reaching those who are not informed by journalists like those at The Times. The only way of reaching the mass of busy people that I can think of is some sort of weekly climate report by weather broadcasters.

It is a pet peeve of mine that weather reporters rarely connect the dots between weather and climate. A weekly mention of up-to-date information from the climate science community might awaken some people to the seriousness of the global climate crisis.

In a democracy, only public pressure can overcome the power of the dollar, which has controlled the conversation so far.

Richard Robinson, Arroyo Grande

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To the editor: Your most important point is that we have caused the Earth’s temperature to increase enough to start thawing the Arctic tundra. When the Arctic tundra thaws, previously frozen methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times as powerful as carbon dioxide, is released into the atmosphere.

This can start a feedback loop in which accelerated global heating due to increases in the thawing of the Arctic tundra causes accelerated thawing and catastrophic, uncontrollable increases in the Earth’s global temperature for centuries.

We have the ability to meet most of our power demands with renewable energy technologies that do not emit greenhouse gases. It is the existential challenge of our generation to convince our leaders to adopt policies that will hasten the transition to renewable energy before it is too late.

Al Barrett, Santa Monica

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