Letters to the Editor: Earth would be an oven without our oceans. Climate change is wrecking them

The Manhattan skyline is obscured by smoke from Canadian wildfires on June 8.
The Manhattan skyline is obscured by smoke from Canadian wildfires on June 8. Globally, June and July were the two hottest months on record.
(Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

To the editor: If all the excess heat from greenhouse gases was absorbed by the atmosphere, Earth’s average temperature on land would be greater than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, oceans absorb 25% of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere and 90% of the excess heat, allowing life to survive on Earth. (“July was the planet’s hottest month on record — so far,” Aug. 15)

However, this dissolved carbon dioxide has made the oceans 30% more acidic. This wreaks havoc on plankton and crustaceans. Higher temperatures cause more water to evaporate, and water vapor is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. This has resulted in the hottest July in recorded history.

Temperatures all over the world are at record levels. Since May, wildfires have burned more than 47,000 square miles in Canada. Lahaina in Hawaii and Paradise in California have burned to the ground. Coral reefs are dying all over the world. Glacial ice and permafrost are melting faster than ever.


Five decades ago, Earth whispered her warnings to stop burning fossil fuels, and we didn’t listen. Earth is now shouting her final warning to stop what we are doing or else.

Phil Beauchamp, Chino Hills


To the editor: I grew up in the ’50s, hearing tales of how Americans rose to the meet the challenges of World War II.

Climate change is the equivalent of World War II, only the stakes are even higher.

Claims that we can’t meet the Biden administration’s emissions targets because red states might sue or it would be too difficult don’t cut it. Catastrophic changes are already occurring on the planet.

In the 1960s we went to the moon, not because it was easy, but because it was hard. We can do this.


Lorraine Woodman, Santa Barbara


To the editor: The abundance of climate articles in the wake of the devastating fires on Maui should amplify the wake-up call to those in power.

The time to hold back is gone. We can’t just sit by until the next Democratic-led government passes additional climate legislation, or wait for corporations or the right-wing Supreme Court to reverse course.

What we do have is agency. To fly less, drive smaller cars, eat less beef, unplug electronics, cut plastic use. There are a million ways to cut carbon dioxide emissions, today, on a personal level.

Asking Californians to conserve water has gotten results. Where are the calls from all levels of government, the media and utilities to sacrifice?


For decades now the suggestion that anyone might need to give up anything for the climate has been heresy. But voluntarily or not, we all have been or soon will be forced to make sacrifices. One look at Lahaina tells us that’s true.

Judy Pang, Palos Verdes Estates