Opinion » The Mailbox

Letters to the Editor: May 29 - June 5

Readers weigh in on the Paris Climate Agreement exit

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@danielmrobbins snapped this piece of natural beauty for us. Tag @sourceweekly for a chance to show up - here in Lightmeter.
  • @danielmrobbins snapped this piece of natural beauty for us. Tag @sourceweekly for a chance to show uphere in Lightmeter.

Hazardous Urban Trees

Consider this about trees: Trees are wonderful, they are indeed beautiful. They offer cooling shade and are home to many creatures. Among other things they produce much needed oxygen.

However, trees that grow too large in town often damage sewer and water pipes with their root systems. They can also cause foundations to crack, sidewalks to shift, garage floors to crack, doors and windows to stick or jam. Large tree roots cause streets to develop bumps and cracks, eventually becoming potholes. In my neighborhood, the 50 to 90-year-old Ponderosa pines do all this damage to houses and infrastructure, and then if that were not enough, all too often they snap off or blow completely down in strong windstorms. In the past 15 years, I've counted nearly 30 of these remarkably beautiful trees that have come down in the ever-stronger windstorms. Fortunately, only a half dozen of them have struck houses, garages or cars, and I've been told a couple of people have died over the last 25 to 30 years here in Bend as these giant trees have cut their homes in half. When my neighborhood was built these trees were seemingly harmless beauties of only 35- 40 years old, but then add 50 years of growth at one foot per year and we have 85 to 95 foot tall Ponderosas with root systems that cause damage in many ways. Yes, I love trees, but only when they are properly controlled and cared for. I agree with a previous letter writer: don't clear cut lots, but carefully consider which trees are a potential hazard to safety and infrastructure.

— W.R. Friday

In Response to, Letter of the Week: The Whitewater Park (5/31)

I cannot believe you gave "letter of the week" to the response of my criticism of the whitewater park. First of all, my letter talked about the inequitable amount of money going to a small group of river-users as opposed to the majority of river users. The exact opposite of the me, me, me, attitude referred to in the response letter.

Sitting on a bench, watching kayakers eat shit, really, what were you thinking? You rank right up there with the alternative facts media, because no one would be able to tell what my letter was about by reading the response. In fact, quite the opposite and by printing that particular response you have taken a position. I am very disappointed in you Source.

— Helen Carter

Trump's Withdrawal from Paris Agreement

Our president is a terrorist. His ruthless disregard for the environment in the interest of some bogus economic gains is arguably the worst of his many horrible actions so far. Pulling out of the Paris Accord amounts to nothing less than terrorism.

— Christie McCormick, via bendsource.com

Last week Donald Trump withdrew the United States' support and leadership in the Paris Climate Accords, demonstrating that he prefers buggy whips to automobiles. There is overwhelming agreement by scientists and most of the world's leaders that climate change is real and is not a "hoax" as Trump asserts. The consequence of doing nothing is catastrophic for the planet and for all people.

Rising sea levels will drown cities which will cost billions of dollars to move or protect. A warming climate will allow tropical diseases to spread northward, resulting in growing health costs. Unpredictable weather will create more famines and spur more mass migrations. This, in turn, will spur more wars and other global tensions.

Trump's decision to oppose climate agreements to protect the coal industry is like trying to protect buggy whip makers in the age of the automobile. Coal as a fuel source is declining.

California, alone, has more than 10 times the jobs in the solar industry as entire employment in the coal industry across the nation. Solar is the future. Coal is the past.

That is why the CEOs of many of America's largest corporations support the Paris Accords, even Exxonmobil recognizes that the future is not with fossil fuels and the United States' economic future is increasingly dependent on renewable energy.

And it's not just in the U.S. that a shift in energy sources is occurring. China announced it is canceling more than 100 coal-fired generation plants because they just don't make economic sense anymore and increasingly they are becoming the global leader in renewable energy. India has set a target of meeting 40 percent of its energy needs by 2030 from solar.

These countries are turning away from coal for practical reasons—solar is increasingly less expensive than coal—even without calculating the environmental costs of coal mining and burning. Declining cost of renewable energy such as wind and solar, as well as lower natural gas price, is driving the coal industry's decline, not international agreements like the Paris Climate Accords. The market is speaking loudly, but Trump is not listening. By withdrawing he has alienated our allies in the developing world, which will only make future negotiations on other critical issues like trade and military alliances more difficult. But there are consequences beyond the economic, ecological and political, there are ethical reasons for remaining in the Paris Agreement.

The U.S. is the second largest polluter on the planet. Our per capita use of energy exceeds all other countries. While our country is home to 5 percent of the global population, we use 25 percent of all energy. We Americans release on a per capita basis twice as much CO2 as China and eight times more than India. And we, more than any other country, have contributed to the current crisis because we have been the number one polluter for decades. We have a responsibility and obligation to assist the rest of the world in their efforts to reduce our fossil fuel burning and we owe it to poorer countries to assist them in developing alternatives to fossil fuels so they can reduce global poverty. Lest we forget, we owe to the people and communities in this country whose jobs and livelihood are dependent on fossil fuels to help them develop alternatives to digging up coal or drilling for oil.

Telling them delusional "fake facts" that the world is going to continue to rely on fossil fuels will not help them make this transition. Trump's policies in many areas are backward looking, not forward thinking. We don't need buggy whips anymore, and it's time for Trump to recognize the future does not belong to the fossil fuel industry.

— George Wuerthner

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