Letter to the editor | Climate matters most

January 11, 2013 

A recent letter to the editor stated that the U.S. debt is the “greatest single challenge facing this nation at this time.”

Although reducing the debt is important, this can be done with leadership from our elected representatives and with minimal disruption to our way of life by increasing taxes, reducing spending, investing in infrastructure and education and eliminating special-interest tax breaks, etc.

However, global warming is a far more serious threat to every living thing on earth.

The physics of global warming have been understood since the 1800s: Add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and the atmosphere will heat up. We have built our modern energy-hungry economy almost entirely on carbon-based fuels.

In the past 100 years the earth’s average temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees, which has caused glaciers to melt, sea levels to rise and unprecedented extreme weather events that cost billions of dollars and displace thousands of people.

And climate scientists have projected temperature increases of another 7 to 11 degrees in the next 80 years if we continue on this path.

What kind of world we leave to following generations is up to us. All of us need to take ownership of this. We must demand that our leaders help us transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.

Addressing climate change is the greatest challenge that man has faced, threatening our very existence. If we don’t get this right, nothing else — including our national debt — will matter.

Bob Potter Boalsburg

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