Letter to the editor 1, Aug. 13, 2015
The issues of climate change? (Your Local Journal, Ask Peter Schiefke, July 16, 2015) Last year the Sierra Nevada Mountains became measurably higher due to a loss by evaporation of 240 billion tons of ground water. In regions that supply food to 2 billion people aquifers are being depleted. More than half of Puerto Rico is under severe and extreme drought, affecting 2.5 million people, 400,000 of whom receive water only every third day. The combination of drought and sandstorms in eastern China in 2010-11 caused the world wheat price to double, the price of bread the same and more, and generated hunger, unrest, migrations and wars elsewhere in the world. While our political parties are pushing for private corporations to trade in carbon emissions, the climate is pushing back our pollution, in spades. Just a bit more of business as usual won’t turn it around. The “magical conception of the market,” Pope Francis calls it.
Species extinction is happening at 114 times the normal background rate. Are we into the world’s sixth era of massive extinctions? Perhaps we are, venture some scientists. To pronounce ‘carbon pricing’ is one thing. Who offers or offsets what with whom for how much, at what price, and to do what with, are some things else. As is any particular carbon-price scheme’s achievement score for effectively stopping what must be stopped. Additional policies are needed to stem world-scale human, societal and ecological catastrophes. The absolutely necessary does not necessarily engage the body of voters. It does engage, differently, the major polluters. Fully articulated climate issues are off the campaign tables.