To the editor: I read Mark Oppe’s Community Perspective (May 11) and the article “GVEA briefs members on plan to cut 26% of carbon emissions” (May 7) with interest. I want to challenge the assertion in both pieces that, as GVEA attempts to meet the goal of a 26% reduction (relative to the 2012 level) by 2030, there must be “no adverse impact on rates.”
Let’s be clear, these are not normal times, and we must stop acting like they are.
The cost of letting climate change spin further out of control will cost us far more in the future than “adverse impact on rates” today. We need to put people to work installing, for example, more windmills and large-scale storage capacity like pumped hydroelectric.
Before the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric CO2 was at about 280 ppm. It is now at 415 ppm. This is insanity.
Global mean temperature has risen 1 degree Celcius. Extreme weather exacerbated by climate change is in the news almost constantly: $3.6 billion to rebuild Camp Lejeune after Hurricane Florence; 85 deaths and 18,800 structures destroyed in California’s Camp fire; the elevation of Houston sinks 2 centimeters from the sheer mass of rain water during Harvey; Alaska villages imperiled by coastal erosion; a Hawaiian island, East Island, erased; twin bomb cyclones flood the heartland. This is a tiny sample of the costs of climate change and only looks at the U.S.
And all this misery from “just” a 1 degree increase.
The most authoritative assessment of climate change is the IPCC report. This tells us that to keep temperature from increasing over 1.5 degrees Celcius, and bringing increasingly vicious floods, droughts, heat waves and storms, we must reduce carbon emissions by 45% (relative to the 2010 level) by 2030.
We can’t refreeze the Arctic or heal the coral reefs, but — isn’t this obvious? — there is still much worth saving.
I encourage GVEA to adjust its goal to match the magnitude of the threat. Bring it in line with the IPCC recommendation of a 45% reduction by 2030. And then, with member support — and, hopefully, constructive involvement of Usibelli — do it.