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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Climate catastrophe is inevitable unless humans revolutionize the way we live

Oil derricks in the Central Valley
Oil derricks are busy pumping near the La Paloma Generating Station in McKittrick, Calif., in 2017.
(Gary Kazanjian / Associated Press)

To the editor: The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that we cannot add more than 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere if we are to not exceed a 2-degrees Celsius rise in the average global temperature. (“The world refuses to slow its suicidal course toward catastrophic climate change,” editorial, Nov. 22)

We have already added more than 500 billion tons since 1860 and are adding carbon dioxide at an annual rate of greater than 30 billion tons per year. At this pace, we will exceed the 1-trillion-ton limit in 15 years.

The goal of 2 degrees Celsius is a political number that will not prevent serious consequences, raised from earlier goals of 1 degree and 1.5 degrees. Voices of warning have been crying out for 40 years, and still we are on track to hit a rise in the average global temperature of 3-4 degrees Celsius.

That is not just troublesome; it is catastrophic. We need more than a sense of urgency — we also need a sense of revolution in our way of life. Nothing else will save us.

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Phil Beauchamp, Chino Hills

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To the editor: Kudos for your editorial sounding the alarm about fossil fuel emissions. Your editorial calls for a “carbon tax,” among other measures.

Climate scientists at Columbia University recently found that the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) would drive emissions reductions of between 36% and 38% by 2030. These researchers concluded that such results would exceed what the Paris Agreement could achieve.

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They noted the “substantial revenue” HR 763 would raise, virtually all of which would be returned to taxpayers in monthly dividend checks, thereby helping struggling families pay the rising costs at the pump. Moreover, the resulting cleaner air would greatly mitigate the health hazards for low-income families living near ports and refineries.

All members of Congress should be urged to pass this measure as soon as possible. Time is critical. The climate clock is ticking.

Tom Osborne, Laguna Beach

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To the editor: Let’s be crystal clear that it’s the fossil fuel industry that deserves blame, obstructing all solutions from behind its complex web of climate denial groups.

Aiding and abetting are groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the National Assn. of Manufacturers, political “hit men” who took fossil fuel money to become America’s worst climate obstructors.

Wall Street was happy to indulge this behavior (and still does) as long as it kept making money, so there are no heroes there.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)


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