The April 16 editorial “A backup plan” cogently underscored the urgency of taking to heart the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group’s call for major reductions in global carbon-
dioxide emissions during the remainder of this century. But when The Post labeled as “huge” the estimated cost of a yearly 0.06 percentage point reduction in the gross domestic product such a commitment would entail, I was puzzled. That would mean that an unconstrained yearly growth rate of, say, 2.5 percent would fall to 2.44 percent. The level of worldwide GDP in 2100 would be 5 percent lower than otherwise. How such a difference need signify “the difference between abject poverty and decent conditions for people in developing countries” is baffling.

Joel Darmstadter, Washington

The writer is a senior fellow at Resources for the Future.

Thanks for another good, almost perfect, editorial on climate change. The imperfection, though, is an important one. It showed up in the concluding paragraph, which stated that environmentalists have not developed a backup plan for if the world does not reduce emissions adequately.

Environmentalists are not the primary culprits, and they cannot accomplish much alone. The ultimate responsibility lies with public officials who block or are indifferent to mitigation of and adaptation to climate change, voters (and non-voters) who don’t hold elected officials accountable and anyone who might be able to help develop and implement solutions. Environmentalists are doing a vital public service by informing us; it’s up to the rest of us, with scientists’ help, to make needed change happen.

Thomas S. Bateman, Charlottesville