Letter: Climate debate

Thanks for the dueling “My Turns” on climate change (June 12). A recent episode of a radio show (“This American Life”) sought new approaches to that issue. In the show, the state climatologist for Colorado points out that there has always been weather variability. The farmers in his state can all point to a year or two in the records similar to last year’s terrible heat, drought and fires in Colorado. But then he says something like this: “I can’t say that the heat in 2012 was caused by global warming, but if even the most conservative projections for global warming turn out to be correct, years like 2012 will be the new normal, not the outliers. 2012 showed us what global warming would feel like and I don’t like it.”

In considering who sounds right, I also think about what happens if they are wrong. Moving away from fossil fuels could actually spur economic growth as new technologies are developed. So if the scientists are wrong that humans are causing climate change, we may lose money building unnecessary sea walls and infrastructure. If the deniers are wrong, we lose the cities the walls would protect — and so much more. It would “feel” bad. Global climate change is asking us the classic mugger question: “Your money or our life?” Cheapskate comedian Jack Benny used to reply: “Wait, I’m thinking …”



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