Letters to the Editor: Is it time to give up hope on climate change?

Students march during the Youth Climate Strike in San Francisco.
Students march during the Youth Climate Strike on March 15, 2019, in San Francisco.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

To the editor: COVID-19 will result in many unnecessary deaths, yet the pandemic will pass. Climate change is the overarching issue. No other crises can be solved if the world in which we hope to solve them is heaving and thrashing. (“For young Californians, climate change is a mental health crisis too,” Dec. 27)

As far as I can tell, environmentalists have not won a single battle of major significance, and they never will as long as our global economy is fixated on endless growth. But as the planet accelerates its rages of fire and flood, destroying our altar to myopic progress, the environmentalists will at least be able to say, “I told you so.”

I believe the climate change tipping point has passed. For years now we’ve heard scientists say that time is running out, but there’s still hope. I fear they know the gig is up, but why divulge the truth when doing so would result in half of us falling into incapacitating despair, and the other half doubling down on denial?


My heart bleeds for the young, for Greta Thunberg, for all those who have the courage I lack, who are at least still hoping and trying. I’m glad that I can reasonably expect to be dead by 2050.

Julie Atherton, Tustin


To the editor: The enormous problems of climate change are a consequence of our need for energy. We will destroy anything to get more of it, including ourselves. There is no drug more powerful than fossil fuels.

Climate scientist James Hansen tried to stage an intervention in 1988, but in our drug stupor, we did not respond. Now, we have to stop cold turkey.

The sacrifices are enormous, but the alternatives are disastrous. Young people see this more clearly because they will have to live it. They are anxious and fearful because their elders are unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices to address the reality of climate change.

This is a battle bigger than any war we have ever fought. We are afraid, but the antidote to fear is action. That action must begin with each of us.


Phil Beauchamp, Chino Hills


To the editor: Young people have every right to be anxious. To not be able to breathe clean air, days on end, and to see that as their future is truly depressing.

The article mentions the Sunrise Movement that supports the Green New Deal, which is excellent but also fraught with political wrangling. There is an existing plan, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, that relies on market forces and not on regulation to drive down carbon pollution.

A tool developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology called En-Roads modeled this plan and showed that it would be more effective than others at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We need to enact the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act immediately.

Philip Chipman, Costa Mesa