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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: Australia and America play a foolish game on climate change

Fires in Australia
A long exposure picture shows a car commuting on a road as the sky turns red from smoke on the outskirts of Cooma, Australia, on Saturday.
(Saeed Khan / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: As Australia burns, I see California on steroids and think of the similarities between Australia and the United States.

Both are paying overwhelming fire-related costs, yet they refuse to curtail their production, use and export of the fossil fuels that are driving up those costs. Meanwhile, greenhouse gas emissions are increasing in both nations as Australia dodges its obligations under the Paris climate agreement and America withdraws from it.

Australia passed a poorly designed carbon tax, but voters didn’t like it and it was repealed instead of fixed. Congress has never even brought a tax on carbon emissions to a vote, despite nascent bipartisan efforts in Congress and the fact that many economists say that a strong carbon tax is the most effective and important component of any climate strategy.

While most citizens want government to “do something,” both nations are pushing back against climate activists. What’s wrong with this tragically self-destructive picture?

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Carol Steinhart, Madison, Wis.

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To the editor: The first recorded climate warning came in 1798 with “An Essay on the Principle of Population.” It was mostly dismissed.

In the 1960s warnings came from the zero-population growth movement. They were similarly dismissed with assurances that one day, engineers (read: somebody else) will figure it out.

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Today a warning comes from Australia. I have little doubt that Americans will ignore this warning too and wonder why they should care about Australia.

Hope springs eternal, so I’ll remind everyone that policies need to be put in place by governments big and small. More importantly, everyone — you, me and the dude down the street — must make important changes.

You have to do only two things. First, make a list of what you (yes, you, the reader of these words) can do to mitigate climate change. Second, do those things.

Gregg Ferry, Carlsbad


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