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I’m a believer

| Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In response to Mark Easley’s article, (“Global warming skeptic,” Dec. 7), I find several points that he makes alarming. The effects of climate change are having a direct effect on human and ecological well-being. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sea levels rose six inches during the 20th century. The summer thickness of artic sea ice is half of what it was in 1950. Glaciers and permafrost are melting, flooding some areas and drying up ecosystems in others. These changes impact species on all continents. Seawater is more acidic because of increased carbon dioxide absorbed by water, affecting coral reefs and marine life. Human health is negatively impacted by outbreaks of infectious diseases. Seawater temperatures are warming, contributing to changing weather patterns that bring stronger storm systems to some areas, while causing droughts in others.

Yes, the world has gone through periods of warming and cooling. There are naturally occurring phenomena like volancanic eruptions. But also yes, I believe humans have a responsibility to protect the earth in ways we can control. MIT scientists estimated in 2008 the average American emitted 20 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, compared to a world average of four metric tons. It is crucial that the U.S. reduce carbon emissions. Easley asks how developed nations could ask developing countries to pay higher costs for energy. In reality, developing nations are already paying the price for climate change because their people, economies, governments, and health systems are more vulnerable to the fluctuations caused by climate change.

Spending the financial resources to “green” America’s economy is not wasteful: it’s innovative. The benefit of international cooperation fosters global interdependence. A U.S. policy that creates incentives for environmental protection is an investment in our future economy. America has the technology and skills to create jobs making solar panels, wind turbines, fuel cells, light rail transit and electric cars. Investing in sustainable energy will decrease reliance on foreign energy. Instead of sending money overseas, Americans would be investing in our economy and our environment. To me, that is very important at this point in history.

Megan Fitzgerald
Cavanaugh Hall
Dec. 8