We need leaders who look at the big picture

By Tom Wills


Dear Editor:

Another week, another climate denial letter in the DCI. This one, another from Mr. Many who is apparently unaware of what IPCC assessments are and what they are based on; the current status of climate science. For example the IPCC, being a review body, has no "climate models." There are some 25 models running at various institutions around the world and most have been remarkably accurate in modeling changes, with the exception of underestimating the rapid warming and ice melt in the Arctic. And 2014 and 15 were the hottest years on record as a "global" average. There is no real doubt within the scientific community or with the governments of the world as to the reality of global warming due to human actions. There is only a lack of political will to take meaningful action to avoid future catastrophe.

One example from the previous week's DCI is the fact that our U.S. representative, Scott Tipton, puts willful ignorance of climate science and economics ahead of doing the right thing, but instead chooses the politically expedient thing. According to his statement regarding the moratorium on new federal coal leases printed on the front page of the Jan. 20 DCI, he accuses President Obama and Secretary of Interior Jewell of putting ideology ahead of regional economics. Shame on Rep. Tipton for doing exactly that in placing his anti-science opinions and pandering to special interests above caring what happens to larger society and nature.

At the recent Paris COP 21 meeting of most of the nations on earth (including the U.S.), regarding how to address the climate change crisis brought on primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, of which coal is the low-hanging fruit, the attendees agreed to cut CO2/greenhouse emissions significantly. Apparently Mr. Tipton disagrees that this is necessary based on nothing more than empty rhetoric, and denies the conclusions of science and of a series of international assessments of the findings of current science and the needs for mitigation and adaption that are happening everywhere now, in some places more dramatically than others. Science and the IPCC assessments tell us that we have a brief window of a decade or two to peak our greenhouse gas emissions and bring them down rapidly or face catastrophic consequences to the climate and particularly to the world's food systems. This will require dramatic, rapid changes to our lives including the ways we work, travel and heat and light our homes.

At this time we badly need political leaders who base their actions and advocacy on the facts of science and the long-term good of all. Mr. Tipton, based on this and past climate denier statements, is a poor choice and should be replaced by a more thoughtful, cooler head.

Tom Wills
Hotchkiss