Explaining climate change
Trees could help
The climate crisis — climate change, global warming, ocean acidification — is the greatest challenge human civilization has faced. It is daunting to address as an individual, particularly when our government is doing the wrong thing: continuing to subsidize fossil fuels.
After reading that the top thing an individual could do to fight the climate crisis was to buy a more efficient car, we bought our first Prius in 2005. My current 2016 Prius gets around 55 miles per gallon around Lexington.
Recently there was another idea. A July 4 Scientific American article discussed a study which concluded that planting trees everywhere possible could offset “two thirds of all the CO2 humans have generated since the industrial revolution”.
Surely all of us love trees. Plus, planting trees near your house will eventually shade it and cut air-conditioning bills.
We should get behind efforts like our own Reforest the Bluegrass and Branching Out programs. Lexington housing developers are doing a great job of infill development; please look at adding as many trees as possible to your developments. Start a competition: Who can plant the most trees?
On bad days, I figure it’s too late.
But, maybe not. Pitch in, plant some trees.
Chris Heinz, Lexington
Phone books wasteful
I wonder if Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council members would consider passing an ordinance that no phone book can be delivered to anyone in Lexington unless he or she requests it. I get at least one phone book delivered to my house a year. I will never use a phone book again and I am old; I just google to get the information I need. These phone books are a waste of money and they certainly add to our trash/recycling issues.
Cindy Frase, Lexington
Diet, land-use change
“Climate Change Threatens World Food Supply” was the lead story in a recent New York Times. It was prompted by a report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), staffed by more than 100 experts from 52 countries.
The report details how climate change is threatening our world’s food and water supplies — turning arable land to desert, degrading soil, and raising the frequency of devastating weather conditions. It concludes that avoiding wholesale starvation and mass migrations requires fundamental changes in animal agriculture and land management practices, which account for 23 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.
The conclusions of the IPCC report match closely those by Oxford University in 2017 and by Chatham House in 2015 and a 2010 United Nations report. All reports recommend a massive shift to plant-based eating.
In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar, and other pollution-free energy sources. Our next visit to the supermarket provides a starting point.
Lyle Rutter, Louisville
Carbon dividends a winner
If you believe we should each pay the cost what we use — like electricity — and we should leave a healthy environment for our children and grandchildren, read on. If not, wake up. Your denial is widely recognized as willful ignorance or greed. Realize that 97 percent of expert scientists and 73 percent of Americans believe that man-made climate change is real and rapidly getting worse. President Donald Trump and his bunch say it’s a hoax. He says he is establishing a panel to examine how climate change affects national security — another ruse. Panels of real military leaders determined a decade ago that climate change is rapidly endangering U.S. national security, e.g. flooding of Navy bases.
But what could be done that could have a substantial impact, right now? A focused approach called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 (U.S. H R. 763) is considered by real experts to be a serious, detailed proposal to stop the runaway train we call climate change. Google it. It taxes carbon pollution at the smokestack, the smokestack taxes are returned to each taxpayer as a dividend, global warming is reduced, and green jobs are boosted. Support it. The recently described Green New Deal now in the news, while laudable, dilutes the focus from climate change and is highly partisan and unactable at this time.
George Wagner, Wilmore