Dear Editor: We have just finished a year in which our government's ideological rejection of climate and environmental science has wrought long-term damage to public health and the earth, virtually guaranteeing that our children's and grandchildren's lives will be more difficult and dangerous than our own.
I watch the news and connect the dots.
In December the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a report on the accelerated melting of Arctic ice. Emily Osborne, a NOAA researcher, says, "This data shows that the magnitude and the sustained rate of warming of the sea ice decline is unprecedented over the last 1,500 years and likely longer."
The melting of the Greenland ice cap alone adds about 270 billion tons of ice and water to the ocean each year, contributing to sea level rise that threatens coastal areas worldwide.
Also in December came the new United Nations estimate that around 258 million migrants are now living outside their birth countries. This number includes the vast influx of refugees stressing the capacities of host countries to which they've fled. We can attribute a significant portion of these to geographical crises resulting from climate change such as the loss of coastal homeland and economic devastation of drought.
One bright light in this gloom is a New York Times report that German consumers are now sometimes being paid to use power instead of vice versa.
This is a dividend of Germany's far-sighted investment of $200 billion in cleaner electricity sources over recent decades.
Here at least is cause for hope, even in the time of Trump and his regressive promotion of harmful dirty energy sources. There is a way out of the pit we've dug for ourselves. Let's muster the political will to extricate ourselves from this trap in the year ahead.
Thomas R. Smith
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