Letter to the Editor: Climate action now

To the Editor:

Our earth has been warmer than it is now, so why worry? Past warming was caused by either well-understood variations in earth’s orbit around the sun and/or wobbles in earth’s tilt, or by emissions of carbon dioxide and methane, usually from widespread volcanism.

Today’s temperature rise comes at a time when the cycles in earth’s orbit and tilt should not be warming earth, and there is no widespread volcanism. Scientists of all sorts have considered all these possibilities and agree that man’s activities, since the industrial revolution, are causing the warming. They are more certain of this than they were that cigarettes can cause lung cancer.

In the past, most global warming was gradual, taking thousands of years. This gave the animals and plants time to adapt. When the earth did warm quickly, the events were almost always highly destructive for life. Sometimes there were mass extinctions, such as at the end of the Permian geologic period when 96% of marine species and 70% of land vertebrate species went extinct.

According to online information from NASA, the current rate of warming is similar to past rapid, disruptive warming events and 20 times faster than the warming caused by natural cycles. This is very concerning. For further information, please check out www.skepticalscience.com.

The good news is that we have many tools to reduce fossil fuel emissions, many are already in place. However, we need to use all of them. The fastest, most effective of the tools is a carbon price. For more information, see “What is a carbon price?” at www.citizensclimatelobby.org. Polluters pay and proceeds can come back to your bank account. Please contact our DC delegation and tell them that you want climate action now.

Joan Baez said “Action is the antidote to despair.”  Check out citizensclimate.org.

Leslie Sand
NE Iowa Citizens’
Climate Lobby co-leader