LETTERS: Climate change must be addressed

To the editor:

In his commentary, E. Calvin Beisner asserts that we should not attempt to slow climate change because a) it’s not really happening, and b) such efforts would raise prices on fossil fuel and therefore impact the poor (“Christians should see climate policy as war on poor,” Oct. 9 Review-Journal). His only evidence for the first point is his assertion that average global temperatures did not rise from 1995 to 2014. This statement is simply wrong.

Anyone can Google “average worldwide temperatures” and see that the temperatures have steadily increased for decades. That’s a fact. The reason the climate is changing is that humans are pumping 7 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the air every day. It is a scientific fact that CO2 traps heat radiated from the Earth, causing an overall rise in temperatures, both in the air and the ocean. We’ve been doing this because fossil fuels have always been relatively cheap and available. If we keep this up, future generations will pay the price in many different ways.

Which brings us to the second point: Back in the 1990s, scientists predicted that climate change would bring about droughts in the southwest United States, melting of polar ice caps, melting of glaciers, rising sea levels and more intense hurricanes and wildfires. All of this is happening right now. Millions of poor people depend on water from rivers fed by glaciers. When the glaciers are gone, there will be no more water. Millions of poor people live in huts in Bangladesh, the Philippines and other low-lying areas disproportionately impacted by rising sea levels and stronger hurricanes.

The excess carbon is also causing oceans to become more acidic, which is killing sea life — the source of food for millions. And droughts cause food shortages, which in turn lead to higher costs, disproportionately impacting the poor. The list goes on and on.

If we do not take action to reduce carbon emissions, poor people around the world will suffer far more than if we raise prices on fossil fuels. Arguing that we should not address climate change because this will impact the poor is like arguing that cars should not have seat belts because it will raise the cost of a new car.

Once carbon dioxide enters our atmosphere, it remains for at least a century. If we wait to reduce emissions until every naysayer is convinced that we have a problem, there will be no way to turn back. Even if we stopped all carbon emission today, the warming trend would continue. The longer we put off action, the worse the problem will become.



Republican scare tactics

To the editor:

Two weeks to go, and the Republicans and the tea party have finally settled on a campaign message for the 2014 midterm elections: Fear and loathing. The message is decidedly grim and doesn’t reflect the truth about America.

In Republican TV ads, politicians play scientists, speculating on whether Ebola will mutate into an airborne virus and kill millions of people. Ads show black-hooded, machine-gun-toting Islamic extremists or terrorists streaming across the Mexican border through Arizona’s backyard. Spearheading the Republican campaign of fear-mongering and lies are Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.

It’s time to call the Republicans on their false advertising and scare tactics, which are meant only to fire up their base and scare the American public.



Importing Ebola

To the editor:

In recorded human history, only two other illnesses have been as contagious and virulent as the Ebola virus: the influenza epidemic of 1918, which killed 20 million to 30 million people worldwide, and pneumonic (bubonic) plague, which wiped out half of Europe in the Middle Ages.

I find the decisions coming from the Centers for Disease Control unfathomable. To import such a horrific disease to a continent that was heretofore free of it is inexcusable. To volunteer other people’s lives so bureaucrats can posture and crow about being powerful humanitarians with state-of-the-art medical care is the worst kind of hubris — the sort of arrogance that destroys civilizations.

Those of us who work with actual patients instead of computer screens and press corps are astounded that these administrators would operate so cavalierly.



Clinton on education

To the editor:

The article on Hillary Clinton’s speech at UNLV has a headline that sounds great (“Hillary targets cost of higher education,” Oct. 14 Review-Journal). I really feel for the Clintons, who when they left office didn’t know where their next million dollars was coming from. Praise God they found it, plus a whole lot more.

The UNLV Foundation should be ashamed of itself. Her $225,000 fee sure could have been used to help some kids afford college.



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