Kent Sierra Club chair: Climate change is real

Climate change impacts everything having to do with sustaining life on Earth. Regions will warm. Sea levels will rise. Species will migrate. Frequency and severity of major weather events - such as hurricanes, droughts, deluges, and heat waves - will increase and be more unpredictable. These are already occurring. This affects our health, agriculture, forests, water, coasts and natural areas.

In response to Mr. Kohler’s letter on climate change (May 7, Kent Reporter), we find many inaccuracies:

1. Society is not being “duped and manipulated.” Climate change is probably the most thoroughly researched scientific phenomenon in our history.

2. The scientific process does not “silence dissent.” Rather, it encourages free exchange of ideas, data, and analyses. It questions everything at every step of the way — that is the essence of the scientific process.

3. We are not “losing our prosperity, choices and freedom.” Actually, if we cannot slow down and eventually reverse climate change, we will lose our prosperity, choices and freedom.

4. Combating climate change is not “fear-mongering.” It is informing the general public about something they can and should address in their lifetimes to secure their children’s and grandchildrens’ futures.

5. The existence of climate change is not “questioned” by “experts.” Climate change has occurred on earth for over 4 billion years. Earth has cycled through ice ages and hot periods. Unfortunately, what is happening now is human-accelerated climate change, whereby our actions have accelerated a natural phenomenon.

6. Nuclear power is not the answer. We vied away from nuclear power 30 years ago because it was uneconomical, unsafe, not environmentally clean and leaves a highly toxic radioactive waste for over 500,000 years.

7. Schools are not being used as “propaganda mills.” Actually, schools are a perfect place to introduce our children to the issues surrounding climate change and the scientific data and analyses. This is especially important since our children will have to live in the world we bequeath them.

8. Climate change is not based on “superstition.” The scientific basis for human-accelerated climate change is sound. Scientists began to identify and study climate change almost 200 years ago. Thousands of scientists from around the world stated in the February 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report that climate change is “unequivocal” and human activities are “very likely” (a 90 percent confidence) the cause.

Climate change impacts everything having to do with sustaining life on Earth. Regions will warm. Sea levels will rise. Species will migrate. Frequency and severity of major weather events – such as hurricanes, droughts, deluges, and heat waves – will increase and be more unpredictable. These are already occurring. This affects our health, agriculture, forests, water, coasts and natural areas.

We remain hopeful our society will take on the challenge of climate change and prevail, for we have only one world and thus have no other choice.

Dan Streiffert

Kent

Chairman, South King County Group of the Sierra Club

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