We only have 12 years to save the planet

Letter, Washington Post, 1/14/19. See the calendar for Richard Whiteford’s presentation on climate change in Downington on June 17.

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions surged 3.4 percent in 2018, but that doesn’t stop climate change deniers from peddling their “climate change is a hoax” snake oil [“U.S. greenhouse gas emissions spiked 3.4 percent in 2018,” Politics & the Nation, Jan. 8]. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climate Assessment reports late last year made it clear that the world must cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least 45 percent in 12 years to preserve any hope of maintaining a livable planet.

Twelve years. All of humanity should be tackling the climate change problem as though their lives depend on it — because they do. Do climate-change deniers not have children and grandchildren? For what reason are they willing to forfeit the welfare of future lives?

Two immediate needs are to convert energy systems from fossil to clean-energy technology and to tax fossil fuels at their source. Converting world energy from fossil to clean energy would stimulate economies and negate the need for developing countries to rely on fossil fuels to build their economies.

Richard Whiteford, Downington, Pa.

The writer is a climate change adviser and board member of World Information Transfer, a nonprofit organization promoting environmental health and literacy.

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