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Letter to the Editor - 5-5-19

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Letters to Editor 940 CAROUSEL

Time to act on climate change

We need to talk. Climate change is real as several writers on this page have eloquently argued.

The speed of climate change informs us of the urgency and gravity of how our choices will matter for generations to come. Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, the gravest damage from fossil fuels burning has occurred within the last 25-30 years. Greenhouse gases enter the atmosphere at the current rate of 2.4 million pounds per second. From 1990-2020, the Earth’s climate has moved from a relatively stable system to the threshold of catastrophe.

Tragically, climate scientists have been sounding the alarm to a deaf political world for years. Based on reams of evidence, scientists recognize (at high confidence levels) a “tolerable” global (average) temperature range above pre-industrial times at 1.0-1.5 Celsius. Today we hover above 1.1 Celsius and will likely rise to 1.4 Celsius in the next decade because of greenhouse gas’ cumulative and time-lapsing effects.

In the latest IPCC Report (October 2018), scientists reset the global temperature threshold for severe risks from 2 Celsius to 1.5 Celsius and shortened the timeline from 2040-2050 to 2030-2040. We are on the cusp of climate breakdown and have 12 years to reduce emissions by 40 percent (from 2010 levels) or face catastrophic damage to the human community and habitat for generations.

There’s nothing magically “safe” about the 1.0-1.5 Celsius zone; inside this zone are life-systems with interlocking parts and widespread effects. Each movement of the decimal point alters effects today: extreme weather events, food shortages, diseases and infections spreading from the tropics, accelerated rates of species extinction, lowering economic output, and more environmental refugees.

It is, indeed, time to talk and time to act. We have only one world, let’s not take chances with it. Call your representatives, ask them to help save our world.

What happens if we don’t effectively decarbonize in the next 12 years? The 75-year projections are mind-boggling: more than double the losses of the Great Depression are in store for the U.S. economy; West Coast wildfires 64 times larger than last year’s and spreading to the Southeast; melting permafrost costing the world’s economy $70 trillion; and the loss of human life equivalent to 25 holocausts.

By mid-century the Trump-led generation of greed and short-sightedness will be in our past; not so the consequences of choices we make today. We need to act.

Marion Hanson



Decisive action needed on climate

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations’ scientific authority on what governments can do to contain the escalating rise in earth’s temperature. The warming is a long-term phenomenon that is accelerating in its speed, to the point where just in my lifetime I have seen our country go from very few deaths from natural disasters to catastrophic events causing thousands of deaths yearly.

I have witnessed an escalation in spring thunderstorms to extreme flooding in multiple cities every year. Healthy oceans and marine life have been devastated by our neglect to responsibly steward our resources. Coral reefs are dying and marine life is struggling with vast plastic pollution in the oceans. Just in my lifetime 100-year weather events now annually threaten our country.

It is time for lawmakers to act strongly and decisively using the IPCC’s action recommendations. It is time for American citizens to recognize the disinformation being presented by the fossil-fuel industry and its lobbyists to confuse the public regarding the reality of the climate crisis.

We must end our own victimization by the greed and manipulation of those who focus only on short-term gain at the expense of the health of our planet. We must act now for our children’s futures. I urge Rep. Latta to sign on to the Green New Deal resolution in the House.

Sarah Maxwell



Developer is interested in old school

With all due respect to Tom Mekus, he should have looked first and spoke second in his letter to the editor.

The 1918 group has used their own money and donations to contact the developer who is interested in reusing the school building. They have been trying to get this building on the register of historic places, so that tax breaks open up for use on the building; taking their time, effort and money to go to all the meetings of the school board to try to save the building; and a whole lot more.

These people should be lauded for trying to save a major keystone of the downtown and a historic building, not derided. Even the city can plainly see that the two historic parts of their master plan to bank on the history of the city and the Erie canal, require that we keep the courthouse and the 1918 building as they are. I mean how can you try to show the city for tourism and still destroy beautiful historic buildings?

This would, in fact, take taxpayer monies, and it would be an excellent investment for the city. With the apartments that would be made, it would allow more citizens downtown to shop in the downtown stores, thus making the merchants very happy as more sales lead to more taxes for the city.

As for the developers, there have been quite a few looking at the building, and the only reason it has not been sold and being developed into apartments right now is the school board moved the goalposts at the last minute. The developer was ready to sign the papers and the school board decided to demand $300,000 up front, something that no developer would agree to.

Daniel Gray


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