George F. Will’s Jan. 27 op-ed column, “Setting up a conservative revival,” came to the conclusion that addressing climate change will be difficult and costly, and therefore we should do nothing about it. What a novel idea! Imagine if that was how we taught our children to handle challenges.
Mr. Will suggested that climate-change legislation would be futile because the United States emits only 16 percent of global emissions. Stated in a different way, however, that’s one-sixth of all emissions by a nation that contains less than one-twentieth of the world’s population. Global action is required, and that requires the biggest emitters to lead.
Dan Cantor, Highland
George F. Will appears to need a lesson in distinguishing relevant facts from irrelevant ones, the latter being abundant in his recent column.
Sure, as Mr. Will wrote, “there were a third fewer U.S. wildfires in 2012 than in 2006,” but that does not mean (though it does imply) that forest fire danger has been decreasing. On the contrary, the acreage burned by forest fires (the best measure of forest fire damage) has increased from 4 million acres per year in 1990 (admittedly a low point) to about 9 million acres per year in 2012. And the total acres burned in 2012 was significantly greater than in any year between 1960 and 2004.
And Mr. Will’s discussion of the Earth’s temperature was particularly disingenuous, as the temperature in 1998 was a bit of an anomaly (a particularly “big” El Niño year, which usually results in significantly warmer temperatures). What matters is the global temperature trend. Every decade since the 1970s has been warmer than the previous decade, and each year this century has been among the hottest 14 years on record.
Bruce Parker, Alexandria
The writer is a volunteer for the Citizens Climate Lobby.