Letters to the Editor: We need to stop using fossil fuels now. This is how we do it

The thermometer at a church in Woodland Hills hit 116 degrees on Aug. 19, 2020.
The thermometer at a church in Woodland Hills hit 116 degrees on Aug. 19, 2020.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I am a climate alarmist, for which I make no apologies. When alarms sound, it is our responsibility to find, address and correct the problems. Last week’s heat waves on the northwest and northeast coasts set off all kinds of alarms.

Climate scientist Peter Kalmus writes that the heat waves were a direct result of global heating. Having followed climate events and climate science for the past decade, I watch not with astonishment but profound dread as our distant predictions are replaced by “the brutal realm of physical reality.”

While our collective responses to global warming are improving, they are not enough. If my house is on fire, I don’t want a bucket and garden hose; I need the full fire department response.


How do we slow global warming? Stop burning fossil fuels. That’s it.

How do we do that? A rapidly increasing tax on carbon is the most effective, comprehensive and doable pathway to get on. A carbon tax must be included in the infrastructure bills working their way through Congress.

Joe McLaughlin, Los Angeles


To the editor: Kalmus’ list of bad outcomes is long and scary. What was once thought of as a once-every-1,000-year heat wave will soon become an annual event, forcing millions if not billions of people to migrate.

But where? Canada recently recorded a higher temperature than Death Valley.

Surviving the wet-bulb temperatures above 95 degrees that Kalmus warns about is like trying to live in a wet sauna — it’s bearable for 15 minutes, but deadly for much longer. Such days will be common near the equator.

It’s like we turned on the oven to bake a cake and haven’t reached the cooking temperature yet. Unfortunately, we’re cooking ourselves, not a cake.

Phil Beauchamp, Chino Hills