Re: "Adaptation the answer to handling climate change" (Letters, July 21).
A recent letter claimed adaptation is the only way to deal with climate change because there is nothing we can do to achieve a “carbon free economy,” and the Union of Concerned Scientists is just another special-interest lobbying group trying to fool the public.
The truth is we don’t need to achieve a “carbon free economy” to deal with climate change. The physics and chemistry of global warming are well understood. We can bring down the level of carbon-based greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to a sustainable level, a level that Earth can absorb without damage.
Other factors affect climate change, but human-industrial sources of greenhouse gases differ fundamentally from natural sources like volcanoes and solar variations. The human-industrial influence is happening very rapidly, is not temporary and pushes the climate in the single direction of warming.
What can we do? We can reduce fossil fuel emissions, improve energy efficiency, use carbon productively — as in carbon fiber composites, and reduce consumption of single-use plastic. We can plant trees on a massive scale, slow cutting in the rain forest and reduce our consumption of beef.
We can work with poor countries to help them develop out of poverty and away from fossil fuels. We can continue to develop more precise climate models and more efficient sustainable energy sources.
People across nations working together can make a difference. That is what the Union of Concerned Scientists is trying to achieve.
Our loved ones, children and grandchildren, are counting on us to leave the Earth in better shape than it was when we came of age. Our behavior, our voting, has to match our expressed concern for what we love.