To the editor: Terrible and discouraging as the subject of your editorial series on climate change may be, the crisis can serve an important ancillary purpose — as a political truth detector.
This is possible because, unique among major policy areas, this issue is based on settled science. Therefore, the position that any politician or party takes on climate change is a reliable indicator of one’s honesty generally and one’s relationship with reality generally.
Despite the fact that the science of climate change has long been understood, and despite the horrific consequences of inaction, the GOP has long refused to acknowledge the truth and will not support significant action. If the Republican Party ignores the truth and promotes disinformation on this greatest of all issues, doesn’t this go to its honesty generally? I raise this question rhetorically, because we do not need more proof that the Republican Party promotes policies that injure the health and happiness of ordinary Americans.
In any event, not enough is made of the fact that the GOP, as an organization, is a climate-change denier — thus the existential importance of the 2020 election. There have been times in world history when the U.S. has been the hope of the world. What are we now?
Steven Schechter, Thousand Oaks
To the editor: I wholeheartedly agree with the clear implication of the Republican Party by the L.A. Times Editorial Board. Responding to climate change even with a substantial majority of Democrats controlling all levels of government would be difficult; this exigent task is impossible with Republicans in power.
Willful ignorance is a global pandemic, as shown by these quotes from your article on sport utility vehicles booming in Germany: “It’s too late now. The environment is already a mess. What’s the point of stopping SUVs from coming into the city when you have delivery trucks and 18-wheelers everywhere as well?” and, “Sell the monster SUVs in the United States or Saudi Arabia where there’s room, but not in Europe.”
Regrettably, Republican politicians and their facilitators are not alone in the “burning bridges behind us” bent. “What do we do now?” is the question of the century.
John Gambardella, Hemet
To the editor: Big kudos to the L.A. Times for its excellent series on combating climate change.
Cutting back on meat consumption can be one nutritionally viable solution for reducing carbon emissions. As a practicing registered dietitian and nutritionist for more than 30 years, I want to assure everyone that appropriately planned vegetarian and vegan diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and can prevent heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, certain types of cancers and obesity.
These plant-based diets are highly sustainable environmentally versus diets rich in animal products because they use fewer natural resources and cause much less environmental damage. One caveat: In addition to a well-planned diet, vegans also need reliable sources of vitamin B-12.
Geeta Sikand, Irvine
The writer, a registered dietitian, is the director of nutrition at the UC Irvine Preventive Cardiology Program.
To the editor: The Times’ incisive series on the climate-change crisis discussed technological advances and behavioral modifications needed to combat it. But there was no call to counter incessant population growth.
Had the world’s population remained constant — instead of doubling — over the last 50 years, this crisis surely would have been deferred for decades, perhaps providing time for technological innovations to mitigate its dire consequences.
No political leader seems willing to concede that there is a finite limit to the number of humans our planet’s environment can sustain indefinitely. Why? Because the next logical step would be to impose numerical limits on each country’s population, a non-starter in the political realm.
Climate change poses numerous hard choices that can no longer be deferred. Our leaders should act to ensure the survival of future generations and not worry about who wins the next election.
Devra Mindell, Santa Monica
To the editor: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that, based on what we know about past ice ages, a natural rise of 100 parts per million in heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere would take thousands of years to occur, yet we’ve done it in about 60.
And, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, the U.S. is experiencing increases in heat waves, intense rainfall, large forest fires and daily tidal flooding.
Our common values like concern for our children’s future and national security should unify Americans on this issue. I’m encouraged that the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
Let’s reach across divides and provide U.S. leadership in the fight to slow climate change.
Terry Hansen, Hales Corner, Wis.
To the editor: While it may be true that the poor will suffer the most from climate change, pointing out this fact is not helpful in moving the conversation. It pushes the problem away from many of us.
If we continue to rely on fossil fuels, then the future will be a disaster movie of unknown proportions. It’s not just storms, fires, floods, drought and things we think we can escape. It’s global food and water shortages, an army of climate refugees, and the loss of so many things we take for granted.
Climate change is a science experiment that we’ve started, and we are the guinea pigs.
Mark Tabbert, Irvine