Now is the time to act to curb global warming
Re “Greenland’s Ice Sheet Is SlipSliding Away,” June 25
Change begins with information. Widespread education about the problem coupled with ways in which we, as concerned citizens, can begin to reduce our own carbon dioxide emissions is a vital beginning. But this global crisis demands strong leadership. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) has introduced the Safe Climate Act, which by 2050 would cut emissions to 80% of 1990 levels; Sens. James Jeffords (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) are expected to bring a similar bill to the Senate in the near future. These leadership responses are critical. And while glacially slow in forming, they are the result of the dogged efforts of reporters who continue to study and report the facts, even if they are inconvenient.
Re “Panel Affirms Global Warming,” June 23
With the National Research Council reporting that the preponderance of scientific evidence shows Earth is heating and that human activity is probably responsible for most of it, conservative leaders need to shake free of their ideological shackles. The political problem is that conservatives believe a free market is the most efficient vehicle for solving human problems. However, long latency between cause and effect means that markets cannot react retroactively to stem greenhouse emissions once the problem’s severity becomes apparent. Therefore, governments must intervene to change human behavior.
Critics who hope that global warming isn’t real should apply risk-benefit analyses to compare the cost of changing the world now against the costs borne by global environmental upheaval in the future.