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Letters, Dec. 4

These disasters are not natural

The term “natural disaster” was used several times in articles in the Mail Tribune (Nov. 25). Lumping disasters clearly enhanced by human stupidity under the heading “natural” clearly helps us evade responsibility. But it’s not very accurate.

The science is very clear on two consequences of global warming: 1. The major factors stimulating wildfires in Western forests are the growing seasonal temperatures and the date of snowmelt. Wildfire risk is high when temperatures are high and snowmelt is early. 2. Meanwhile, hurricanes are stimulated by ocean waters rising above 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmer the ocean, the greater the evaporation, and the more energy that’s imparted into the developing hurricane. Thus, the more severe is the hurricane.

The current trends of increasing area burned by Western wildfires and increasing hurricane severity are exactly what climate science projects. So, when these happen, we should not call them natural.

There is little doubt in the scientific arena that the increasing wildfire risk we are experiencing and the increasing hurricane severity are caused by our emissions of greenhouse gases. If we wish to address these problems, we will not waste our time blaming nature, we’ll address the problem ourselves. We can do this!

Trisha Vigil


Republicans irrelevant on climate

Republicans have declared themselves irrelevant on the largest issue of this century: the race to mitigate the civilization-threatening effects of human-caused climate devastation.

The Republican climate change denier caucus yells hoax in the face of overwhelming scientific and experiential evidence, summarized in the latest IPCC report and the administration’s own Fourth National Climate Assessment. These reports warn we have limited time to make changes in our societies to limit destruction from climate change. We are already experiencing such devastation in town-destroying forest fires, droughts, mega hurricanes, reductions of insect populations necessary to our ecosystems, chronic coastal flooding.

Our climate denier in chief responded to the most recent report saying simply: “I don’t believe it.” Does he also disbelieve the sciences that underpin modern medicine, industry, the internet? He consistently and irresponsibly works to overturn all initial efforts to limit the damage.

We need a comprehensive retooling of America for the 21st century, a Green New Deal to mobilize our society and the world to cope with the changes we have produced.

Oregonians can begin to create needed changes by working with our legislators to pass the “clean energy jobs” bill that will be brought up again in the coming session.

Robert John Scheelen


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