Letters – Climate Change

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To the Editor:

I am writing to encourage everyone to learn as much as they can about climate change whether one is a denier or believer. Please consider that this issue is far more serious than we realize. The conservative British news magazine, The Economist, recently published a headline: “Are We Losing the War on Climate Change?” Conservative Senator John McCain was a longtime fighter against climate change. Please read the Senator’s very detailed 2006 speech to a Climate Change Symposium in Norway (www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/speeches).

The 2014 Defense Department Climate Change Report states; “Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify global instability, hunger, poverty and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and destruction by natural disasters across the globe. We are already beginning to see some of these impacts.”

Sea levels in Norfolk, VA have risen 15 inches since 1920, with a 36 inch increase predicted by 2100. Locally, it won’t take much ocean level rise to flood many Hudson River waterfronts. The current proposed Hudson Harbor and Edge developments are just a few feet from the Hudson River.

As noted above, ocean level rise is not just inconvenient flooding but very clear evidence of a hotter planet. Rising temperatures are not only melting the ice caps which cool the planet, but food and water supplies are dependent on normal temperatures. Loss of food and clean water will cause human starvation, migration and military conflicts. Ocean acidification is not a well known impact but it causes oxygen depletion with deadly consequences for fish species and air quality.

Many sincerely believe we are experiencing excessive weather. Others just deny global warming. Also troubling is that our national news media covers climate change either minimally, ideologically or with false assurances that further studies are needed or that impacts are far off in the future. No worries! The Washington Post offers frequent and insightful coverage.

It is very positive to note that Westchester County government has committed to a broad range of actions to reduce our carbon emissions (www.westchestergov.com/global-warming-action-plan). Hopefully, the 116th Congress in 2019 will follow Westchester County’s example.

Terence Masterson
Amherst, MA
(Terence Masterson is a former Village of Irvington Trustee)

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