Letters to the Editor

Ask for right thing

The disturbing article, “Researchers warn of a ‘sixth mass extinction’ ” from July 7, finds we are experiencing the fastest rate of extinction since the dinosaurs disappeared.

It ends with a familiar list of things we can do to help.

Most are individual voluntary actions — the last is about applying political pressure.

But are individual actions meaningful? And what do you ask your politician to do, exactly?

Pope Francis agrees with leading climatologist James Hansen about the dubious value of capand-trade systems, such as with California’s AB 32.

Both suspect it is a stalling tactic engineered, in part, by fossil fuel interests.

One problem with capand-trade is that it pits “energy saints” in a zerosum game against “energy sinners.”

The “saints” who shrink their own carbon footprint weaken overall demand for dirty energy.

But reduced demand lowers prices, and motivates the “sinners” to use more.

Result: discouraged saints and gleeful sinners. No wonder the pope disapproves.

Ask your politician for this: a revenue-neutral carbon tax that encourages saints and sinners alike to clean up our act and head off an extinction event that might claim a portion of our own progeny before it’s over.