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Janet Sadler: If not acting on climate change now, then when?

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2011 file photo, Texas State Park police officer Thomas Bigham walks across the cracked lake bed of O.C. Fisher Lake in San Angelo, Texas. Global warming is rapidly turning America the beautiful into America the stormy, sneezy and dangerous, according to a new federal scientific report. Climate change's assorted harms "are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond," the National Climate Assessment concluded Tuesday. The report emphasizes how warming and its all-too-wild weather are changing daily lives, even using the phrase "climate disruption" as another way of saying global warming. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2011 file photo, Texas State Park police officer Thomas Bigham walks across the cracked lake bed of O.C. Fisher Lake in San Angelo, Texas. Global warming is rapidly turning America the beautiful into America the stormy, sneezy and dangerous, according to a new federal scientific report. Climate change's assorted harms "are expected to become increasingly disruptive across the nation throughout this century and beyond," the National Climate Assessment concluded Tuesday. The report emphasizes how warming and its all-too-wild weather are changing daily lives, even using the phrase "climate disruption" as another way of saying global warming. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

To the editor:

Regarding the April 30 letter, “Spare the virtuous lifestyle columns please” in response to Dr. Marty Nathan’s “We must all answer climate change call”):

Climate activists around the globe, acting on the credibility of updated scientific research, justifiably refute the option of sitting idly by “await[ing] the day when alternative sources of energy will be plentiful and cheap enough to replace fossil fuels.” It’s simply not in the mainstream industry’s interest to develop nonlucrative energy sources, so what is there to wait for?

Until recently we have been assured that drastic global consequences will not occur for another hundred years or more, well past our lifetimes. Why worry? Let the next generation handle it.

It seems, however, the timeline has been pushed forward a bit. And with this urgency it borders on insult to say Dr. Nathan’s call to action is with “well-nigh religious certainty and apocalyptic pronouncements.” Dr. Nathan reminds us that individuals are the only viable source of change. It’s up to us to join forces to start real change now, not in decades to come. Although it’s tempting to shoot the messenger, should we?

I have seen no activists “demanding” but rather thoughtfully pointing out the “compound interest” of lifestyle and industry moves to slow down devastating climate change. Is this new direction necessarily undesirable? What’s so terribly hard to “give up” in view of what we face?

Finally, I wonder what “different approach” the letter-writer has in mind. For all that’s been presented about climate change, nothing so far has nudged us even a few inches off our collective complacency.

Though I would hardly accuse Dr. Nathan of alarmism, I wonder if a bit of alarmism may be a good thing. Many of us still have our heads stuck in the tar sands.

Janet Sadler

South Hadley

Legacy Comments5

Gotta love the accompanying photo of the dry lake bed of O.C. Fisher Lake. A little research would have shown the Gazette that the lake is man-made, created to provide flood control for the surrounding area.

P.S. How come I didn't get an irrelevant, misleading and tendentious file photo on the on-line version of *my* letter?

Now you're just being petulant.

If "the letter writer" (to use her impersonal term) has not noticed the "well-nigh religious certainty and apocalyptic pronouncements" of the climate debate, perhaps she is viewing it from too sharp an ideological angle to see what it obvious to those who occupy a more central position, where I place myself. For rather than having my "head stuck in the tar sands" (which "borders on insult," but I can slough it off), I read fairly widely, though claim no expertise. And rather than agreeing that "the timeline has been pushed forward a bit," what stands out for me are the increased doubts about the accuracy of available climate models, uncertainty about the ratio of man-made vs. natural climate variability, and legitimate criticisms of policies that would stifle progress while mitigating very little. Read the work of such eminent climate scientists Judith Curry and Roger Pielke, Jr., who of course have been smeared as "denialists" because they challenge the extremist status-quo, but who, for me, are voices of reason in this contentious debate. And read Africanist and self-described life-long member of the "foreign-policy left" Caleb S. Rossiter's "Sacrificing Africa for Climate Change" in Monday's Wall Street Journal for an example of how alarmist policy can hurt those it claims to help. As for what "different approach" I have in mind, I would think that a less ideological, less hectoring, less dire approach would win many more converts than the present course. Perhaps what Ms. Sadler sees as "our collective complacency" is actually the result of the extremist argument being tuned out, both because its methods and on its merits.

Also these "minor" changes being suggested will lead to centralized control over our energy policy. That is the ultimate goal of the politicians who support climate change. Already my electric bill has doubled. It is going to $1,000 a month soon. The electrical grid in the New England area is predicted to fail in the next several years if we don't build out the infrastructure for carbon based energy. Expect brownouts and blackouts. How inconvenient will that be when its 20 below zero? Doubling and tripling energy costs are going to put many businesses out of business and move more manufacturing to countries like Chindia which have much less stringent environmental regulations. I don't believe the dire predictions of these climate scientists either. 20 years ago the same scientists werre predicting an immenant new Ice Age. That was what the first Earth Day was in response to.

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