Thursday’s letters: Admit the fact of climate change so you can fix it

Published October 10

Climate alliance | Oct. 9

Admit the problem before you can fix it

The day after the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report warned of a climate catastrophe if unprecedented action is not taken to limit greenhouse gases, the leaders of Citrus County south to Manatee County signed a pact to help each other find ways to cope with sea level rise and climate change. The pact avoids any discussion of the causes of climate change. Sean Sullivan, executive director of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, was quoted as saying “We are trying to stay away from the political debate over causes. ...”

The physical science of climate change is not a debatable matter. The basic physics of the greenhouse gas effect has been known for at least a century and the scientific consensus overwhelmingly supports the physics of the greenhouse effect on climate. Failure to acknowledge the scientific basis of climate change renders null and void any policy discussions on mitigation. This is at a time when climate scientists have unequivocally stated, to keep a habitable planet, the world has 11 years to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent and must become carbon neutral by 2050. Without addressing and acting to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, this commission will be deciding on how high to build or rebuild the next bridge in a world that no one would choose to live in.

Dale Potter, St. Petersburg

Cut the carbon to save future

At last week’s city council meeting, St. Petersburg passed a resolution requesting the federal government pass carbon fee and dividend legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as part of the effort to combat climate change. The concept is simple. A fee is placed on the carbon content of all fuels at the point of production. It is increased each year. The fee collected is returned to citizens as a dividend, which offsets the rising price of carbon-based fuels for the majority of households. Citizens’ Climate Lobby has advocated for this approach for 10 years. It is exciting to see St. Petersburg support the concept.

Under this approach, as personal and business behaviors change, the entire economy moves from an intensive carbon energy economy toward a carbon-energy-free economy. In the process incremental jobs are created, GDP grows, lives are saved, and carbon dioxide emissions are reduced to 1990 levels, which slows sea level rise and mitigates global warming.

The entire Tampa Bay area is in the forefront of rising sea levels, stronger storms and rising flood insurance rates due to climate change. Federal action to put a long-term national plan in place to address these problems can not come a moment too soon.

Bill Marshall, St. Petersburg