Letters to the Editor

Think about money, brains, climate change

Let’s look at statistics and some organizations, then ask ourselves if these tell us anything about the issue of climate change.

Natural disasters cost the U.S. $91 billion in 2018. And, 247 people died. The costliest year was 2017 — $306 billion. Global temperatures over the last five years are the hottest on record.

The planet has had 42 consecutive years of heat above the overall average of the 20th century.

Scientific organizations saying human action causes climate change are mind-numbingly brainy: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Science Foundation, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Oceanic Administration.

Closer-to-home perspective? Iowa State University’s William Gutowski, geological and atmospheric science professor, will be a lead author for the 2021 assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Maybe we’ve earlier dismissed IPCC reports as distant UN gobbledygook, but can we do that with ISU?

The next report brings things closer to home, says Gutowski: “We’ll be talking more … about what does climate change mean for people living in the Midwest … on tropical islands … and in arctic regions.”

Instead of throwing good money after bad fighting increasingly severe wildfires, floods, hurricanes, droughts and rising coastal waters, let’s spend those billions on a national effort to slow climate change.

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It will take will of the type successfully mounted for the moon landing, rising out of the Great Depression, or winning World War II. But we did those things, right?

Linda Svoboda

Cedar Rapids

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