Adaptation and Reduction – Letter to the Editor – Press Democrat by Barry Vesser

Thank you for publishing comments from Jack Hayes, National Weather Service (“In 2012, let’s plan for worst weather”). Hayes calls for us to prepare for extreme weather events. Adaptation to greenhouse gas impacts from emissions we’ve already put in the atmosphere is a prudent, minimum response in the wake of record weather disasters this year.

 Unfortunately, Mr. Hayes does not mention the importance of decreasing emissions that we continue to pump into the atmosphere. In 2010 global output of heat-trapping gases increased by the largest amount on record despite slow economic growth.

 If this increase is sustained, global emissions will be higher than the worst case projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s foremost scientific authority on the climate crisis. Global temperatures would exceed the 4 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 predicted by this panel. By comparison, 2011 extreme weather impacts will look like a walk in the park.

We need to invest now in reducing emissions as a national security priority. Promoting preparedness and adaptation without requiring significant emission reductions is like building a higher dike of sand to hold back a tsunami. Locally, we need to invest in initiatives like Sonoma Clean Power that reduce emissions by switching to local renewable energy.

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