Letters to the Editor

Carbon and climate change

The Associated Press

Taxpayers will get the bill if we don’t cut carbon

Re “What will it cost to cut our carbon?” (Page A3, Dan Walters, Nov. 16): A more informative and helpful column would be titled “What will it cost if we do not cut our carbon?”

Stating that greenhouse gases causing climate change is an unsettled issue is wrong. Scientists are as certain that these gases cause climate change as they are that smoking can kill people. So far in 2014, the California drought has cost $2.2 billion. Wildfires are increasing and costing hundreds of millions as our fire season goes from three months a year to year-round.

Who is going to pay for this? The tooth fairy? No. It will be us as taxpayers who pay the bill when climate change makes California hotter and our droughts and wildfires become longer, more intense and much more expensive.

Christine Bailey, Gold River

Rebates are one answer to cutting carbon

Dan Walters is wrong and right in his Sunday column. The National Academies of Science agree that the burning of fossil fuels causes global warming and climate change, and risks to human health and happiness warrant international action. He’s right that California’s program to cut carbon increases the cost of fossil fuels, burdens the poor and middle class, especially if the price of gasoline increases in January when it becomes part of the state’s cap-and-trade program.

One answer is to rebate the gasoline fees to households, which is already happening for some household utility bills. And, California’s efforts are useless unless U.S. and other world governments act. One answer is a national carbon fee on fossil fuel producers and importers, returning revenues to U.S. households. Let’s unleash market forces, protect the poor and middle class, incentivize international cooperation, and make state-based EPA regulations unnecessary.

Jennifer Wood, Sacramento

What will it cost if we don’t cut carbon?

Dan Walters is probably correct in asserting that we don’t know the exact costs in dollars or jobs to cut humanity’s dependence on carbon. But while that sounds like a reasonable request, Walters avoids asking the most relevant question. He doesn’t ask what will be the cost of not cutting carbon dependence.

This is an especially big question since carbon levels continue to increase despite lots of talk about reducing them, and lots of well-funded hand-wringing about potentially large costs to reduce those levels. But we’ve already been paying (in part) the much larger costs of drought, hurricanes and flooding, and these are simply preludes to climate events that could literally threaten the survival of the human species.

How bad does it have to get before Walters stops focusing on minutiae? As the Bible aptly puts it, Walters is “straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel.”

Mark Dempsey, Orangevale

Issue of climate change is settled, really

Dan Walters notes that whether it’s true or not that greenhouse gases cause climate change “remains in the eyes of many, an unsettled issue.” Really? It’s not unsettled in the eyes of the vast majority of climate scientists, up to 97 percent of whom believe the issue is settled. It’s not unsettled in the eyes of the 850 climate scientists and other experts who wrote the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. It’s not unsettled in the eyes of the 350 climate scientists and other experts who wrote this year’s National Climate Assessment.

You might also want to check with the major oil companies, the insurance industry, the reinsurance industry and the U.S. military. Did we forget to mention major greenhouse gas reduction announcements by the European Union and the United States and China?

Harold Ferber, Elk Grove