We have to address climate change

I no longer argue with people about the existence of climate change. The science showing the existence of climate change and its impact is irrefutable. Two recent meta-analyses, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the United States’ congressional Fourth National Climate Assessment, both demonstrate the clear existence of the accelerating impact of climate change, our role in its production, the danger of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, and, significantly, the need to act now.

My last discussion with a climate change denier, as to the impact of human-produced CO2 (carbon dioxide), ended with a derogatory comment directed toward me and then a reference to a 25-plus-year-old study that ruled out human cause. I found the referenced study; it endorsed a non-carbon theory no longer accepted as legitimate in its findings and conclusions.

Significantly, the majority of Americans accept the science of climate change. It would seem, with such a preponderance of facts and knowledge of its existence, our nation would be the lead country in the world attacking the causes of climate change. As we are aware, this is not our status.

It is not for lack of ideas that we in this nation at times feel stymied. There are a multitude of known actions we can implement that will reduce the output of CO2, but we are unable to get national governmental support to act on these curative actions. To our great detriment, as a nation we are ramping up the use and sale of fossil fuels that spew so much CO2 into the air. One of my personal frustrations is, as an individual, like many other people, I send letters and phone calls to all matter of representatives and other entities, with seemingly no impact. It is obvious that to protect our future for ourselves, children, grandchildren and future generations, we have to act to change this nation’s behavior from increasing CO2 production, and instead reduce it to sustainable levels.

There is a very new but growing movement within the political structure and climate organizations calling for a Green New Deal (analogous to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal). The Green New Deal would be a national effort to make the necessary changes structurally, philosophically and with international partnering to mitigate the climate change crises. The Green New Deal is emblematic of the broad-based approach this nation needs to put in place.

In today’s news, a report came out that Russia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the USA are fighting to weaken the Paris climate agreement, demonstrating a frightening lack of understanding and callous disregard for the well-being of this planet and all the plants and animals that inhabit it. We must act to bring about compliance with the Paris agreement. Time is growing short for us to act and develop a sustainable world. Twelve years is the approximate window of time we have before the world reaches a tipping point where CO2-fueled climate change has enough momentum to become a tragedy with catastrophic consequences.

What to do? Call or write your county, state and national representative, and express your concern and demand action on climate change issues. 350.org is partnering with other national groups to demonstrate for aggressive action to fight climate change on a national level. As these events become concretized, they will be publicized. There are many small entities and business going green; use these available resources. Villages and cities across this country are working to creatively attack climate change; participate and/or support them.

One last thing. While this issue can be overwhelming sometimes, it does not detract from the need to take time to enjoy life, cherish friends, family and this wonderful Adirondack region.

Steve DeHond lives in Saranac Lake.

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