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posted: 8/16/2012 4:40 AM

Work together to limit climate change

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Some like it hot. Some not.

I prefer the good old summer days, when regular hot was hot enough.

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Now James Hansen as well as Bill McKibben have weighed in on climate change and sustainability. Both my favorites, Bill McKibben spoke first in Rolling Stone magazine's Aug. 2 issue with the headline, "Global Warming's Terrifying New Math." He outlines three simple numbers that tell the story for us. The first is the smallest: 2 degrees Celsius (about 4 degrees Fahrenheit,) the proposed upper limit of acceptable increase in temperature to maintain human sustainability.

The scientists are now saying that nature is showing us our new reality that climate change deniers have been spending millions to tell us was wrong while they reap their billions to stay the richest folks on earth.

The next number is 565 gigatons. That's a nice round number. That's how much CO2 we can pour into the atmosphere by 2050 and still have a decent hope of staying below that 2-degree limit. But as international rates increase, we will get there in 16 years. Sustainability has new meaning for me. It means we must do more to be a community and work together. Adapting to all these changes that are here coming will take tolerance, humanity, and all our better qualities.

The third number is the worst. It's the number the fossil fuel big boys have on their side. This number is an estimate of the total of fossil fuel reserves that those guys want to keep selling to us. That number, as McKibben says, is five times higher than our safety limit.

Dr. James Hansen in an AP post says that rather than the climate change deniers' question about weather events: "Is this because of climate change?" you should ask: "How likely is this to have occurred with the absence of global warming?"

Sandra Kaptain

Elgin

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