Climate change

Thank you for raising the issue of climate change in recent issues of this newspaper. First and foremost, climate change is not, and should not be, a partisan political issue. The earth’s atmosphere and oceans don’t care about our political leanings or the size of our bank accounts. There are thousands of weather stations around the globe, and they have been telling us the same story for over a century now. The earth is gradually warming, and it’s doing so at an increasing rate of speed. Why should we care? Scientific observation and computer models predict the following effects of a warming planet: • As sea levels rise, shipping and transportation hubs in our coastal cities will be disrupted. This will cost our nation and others huge sums of money. • As sea levels rise, millions of people in low-lying nations will be displaced. Many will become refugees. • As weather patterns shift, damaging storms will increase in frequency and intensity. • As weather patterns shift, fish populations will shift their ranges, resulting in loss of food and possible famine for many people which depend on them for their survival. • As weather patterns shift, currently farmable areas will be subject to increased droughts, leading to possible crop failures and famines. • As weather patterns shift, insects will adjust by shifting their ranges to more hospitable areas. This will result in a lack of crop pollinators and also in an increase in disease vectors, such as mosquitoes. • As the climate changes, death rates among old people will increase, extinctions of vulnerable species will increase, wildfires will increase in frequency and intensity, and oceans will become more acidic. The fact is that all these trends are already happening! The specter of climate change is not some imaginary threat or a distant concern, it is happening today and it’s effects are already with us. The effects of climate change will be widespread and very difficult to predict specifically; there are simply too many variables. One thing we can be certain of is that they will affect every corner of the world, including the United States. The United Nations climate change report recently stated that severe effects may become apparent as early as 2030. For those of us who have children, grandchildren, or young people we care about, the time has passed to ignore this issue. It’s real, and it demands our attention. It is the central issue which will determine the health of our planet in every conceivable way for the remainder of our lifetimes. I urge all readers of this newspaper to tell our political leaders at all levels that this is important, and to please vote accordingly. Sincerely, Steve Kistler Hart County, Kentucky

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