Letter to the editor: Candidates should be pressed on climate change

Let’s remove our “take sides” hats and do our best thinking. After all, a few things do bond us inextricably: We live by a shared agreement — our Constitution. It means we are a people who can come together and, by our reasoning, make agreements. We share a single planet without a second choice. We do not doubt that life depends of certain qualities and quantities of air, water, soil, heat.
Yet, for reasons I do not understand, we are not unified in doing a good job of responding to urgent messages repeatedly provided to us by as many as 6,000 highly qualified scientists — saying we must cut carbon emissions in half over the next dozen years. Saying that if we do not, we will cripple nature. Irreparably. In ways that will cause us and our offspring harm and misery.
Many smart, honest, accomplished and respected leaders in governments, non-profits and businesses are heeding the warning and taking action. Some of those actions cost money — some make money. Their necessity is measured by what science says we MUST attain as lowered CO2 present around us — very quickly.
The approach is on one hand simple:
•  Emit less CO2, — especially stop the biggest offenders such as coal burning — and use less energy overall.
•  Contain more carbon — for example by restoring land and soil — including innovations such as green roofs.
•  Deflecting solar has been mentioned, but without assurance that it is doable or wise.
•  Learn more. Turn to the best models now in use and use our scientists to learn more and better — things like how to store energy that is produced intermittently by wind, water, etc.
On the other hand, achieving success is complicated. For example, Vermonters rely on tourists who drive their cars as a means of vacationing and spending. Vermont is, in part, defined by a bucolic dairy image — a desired way of earning a living which can come with uses of soil, air and water to our detriment environmentally.
Most of us rely on animal based diets when plant-based consumption would better serve our environment. Low CO2 infrastructure, homes and businesses, transportation, and energy creation take our money, time, support and expertise to bring into play. And called-for carbon reduction measures require funds we can’t imagine finding; large-scale wise actions; and cooperation asap! There’s no time for frittering around.
We can start by discouraging messaging from entities that are not evidenced as being informed by proven, legitimate, time-tested science. The planet does not/will not survive based on opinions or baseless heated argument. Remember “earth sciences” in your grade-school years? We’ve no time to waste on unproven arguing — besides, we have already done that on this topic for over 100 years. The opposition has never come up with 6,000 highly qualified scientists and smart, honest, accomplished and respected leaders to factually back their rebuttal.
Instead, let’s be our best together starting right away: change our carbon producing activity to half as much. Try driving less. Use less energy. Weatherize.
Try storing more CO2 by planting to cover ground and to increase forestation. At your workplace (public or private) ask to have a significant pollution program put into place very soon.
When choosing candidates, businesses, and other entities to support let folks know you want to know their measure of intended impact (maximum CO2 present or measure of successful reductions), their specific detailed plans for driving improvement and their strategy for how we will all know proper CO2 reduction is in play.
Hold candidates accountable to do more than name some causes, data and “good ideas”. Ask for full explanations of how, if elected, climate change would be addressed at levels deemed urgent; how measures would be funded; the timetable of action and why it would work. Effective action is needed — no more driving around to sit on committees, no more hand-wring meetings, or messaging in hollow ways. Let’s all do our best thinking and immediate best actions.
We are bonded by our Constitution and a passion for the goodness in what we can do in unity. With nature, we are bound in science. And science can help us if we let it — many of us — together — very soon. Please.
Letitia Allyson Wulff

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