Warming is not the only problem

Warming is not the only problem

Because warming is but one consequence of carbon pollution, the term climate change is better. Emphasizing temperature alone when considering impacts of carbon pollution — released into our atmosphere from burning fossil fuels — can lead to mistaken conclusions about our impact. Other trends we must examine to assess our impact on the planet include:

Disrupting patterns in precipitation: amount, seasonality, frequency, intensity, and form (snow vs. rain).Increasing storm severity: frequency and intensity.Reducing mountain snowpack — especially in the western U.S. Dwindling ice at the poles and in mountain glaciers.Increasing wildfires: frequency, lengthened season, acreage burned. Shifting ranges of many native species as they adjust to changed climate and habitat.Warming lakes, rivers, and oceans.

Rising oceans due to the expansion of water as it warms.

Deteriorating air quality: cancer, allergic, respiratory impacts.

Even "Climate Change" does not accurately reflect the problem; it ignores acidification threatening ocean ecosystems, one of the most serious consequences.

Only if all trends reversed would it be reasonable to conclude our actions are not compromising the planet. Damaging trends continue. An apparent short-term slowdown in warming does not mean we should continue to pollute.

Alan Journet


Time to charge for pollution

Taxes and fees are imposed at state and federal levels not only to raise funds, but also to discourage behaviors that cost society money or that society considers less than desirable. The opposite is the case for tax credits and rebates; these are provided to encourage behaviors society considers valuable.

When we consider activities undertaken by humans and corporations that impose huge costs on society, it makes sense that they should be discouraged. An effective way to do this is to impose a fee for engaging in those behaviors.

Currently we (nationally, regionally) are suffering the consequences of decades, if not centuries, of using the air we breathe as a free dumping place for carbon pollution that results from burning coal, oil, and gas. This behavior is imposing on us suffering through severe weather, heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and acidified oceans.

Not only do we allow carbon pollution to continue without penalty, many of our elected representatives insist on granting the major polluters billions of dollars in tax incentives, as though we want to encourage rather than discourage this behavior.

It's past time to charge a fee for pollution, and eliminate incentives to keep doing it.

Louise Shawkat