To the editor: Steve Lopez writes effectively about climate change. But I have a question: Why does he feel he must give any ink, screen space or time to the deniers? These people make no valid arguments; there is no need to counter them. It’s time just to stop covering them.
It’s clear the deniers have scientists over a barrel. Of course no ethical scientist will be able to say, “This particular event is a result of climate change.” They have to talk about trends over time. That’s not a powerful way to counter the deniers. But why feel any need, anymore, to counter them? It’s all too clear, and there’s close to unanimous agreement among the ethical scientists. Countering the deniers makes their arguments seem legitimate.
I agree that leading the way on educating, planning and adapting is a moral imperative. But I’m sad that Lopez doesn’t include the word “preventing.” Obviously we are already in it, and we can’t prevent some of the effects of climate change. But are we really ready to stop talking about preventing the worst effects? I say no.
Mary Byrd, Santa Barbara
To the editor: The climate change debate reminds me of my youth, when I did some technical rock climbing.
The decision to use a safety rope was not based on the likelihood of a fall, but instead on the consequences of a fall. If a fall would be a disaster, we would rope up, even though it was inconvenient and a fall was unlikely. It seems the same logic applies to climate change.
Even if there was a lack of scientific consensus, the consequences of failing to respond to climate change would still demand action. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions will also reduce other forms of pollution, leading to a large decrease in preventable premature deaths.
If our civilization lasts long enough, we will run out of economically viable fossil fuels. It may be decades or it may be centuries, but the earlier we transition to a low-carbon lifestyle, the greater the benefit to mankind.
Tom Hazelleaf, Seal Beach
To the editor: Isn’t it time we stop arguing about what is causing climate change and start figuring out ways to adapt? It’s here. It’s real.
Switching to cleaner, greener energy may slow the exponential speed with which this planet is warming, but it will not stop or reverse it. The time is now (if it’s not already too late) to figure out how to live in this new reality.
Do we just wait around for the next inevitable disaster and shake our heads and shrug our shoulders and say “this is the way it is”? Do we continue to argue about what is causing this? Or do we try to adapt and learn how to survive and live with this new reality?
Roselee Packham, Santa Monica
To the editor: Lopez is correct when he agrees there is indeed global warming. However, he is wrong to concentrate only on summer temperatures. In Southern California, the winters are also getting warmer.
“Winter chill” is the number of hours temperatures reach 45 degrees or lower. In my community adjacent to Agoura Hills and Thousand Oaks, we had 544 hours of winter chill in 2000-01; last winter, we had only 191 hours. Only the winter of 2013-14 was warmer, with 127 hours of chill.
This means my peach tree — a variety specially developed for the mild winters of southern California — produces only two peaches this year instead of a tree full. More important, commercial orchards of peaches, almonds and cherries are struggling because of a lack of winter chill.
Warm winters can be as damaging to food crops as torrid summers.
David E. Ross, Oak Park