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Letters: An island nation's warning on climate change

November 19, 2013

Re "Rising Pacific tides," Opinion, Nov. 13

How poignant to read of a man from the Pacific island nation of Kiribati seeking asylum in New Zealand because rising tides are swamping his homeland.

If, decades ago, oil companies had been required to internalize the environmental cost of carbon dioxide emissions, we might not be at this crisis point.

One effective action would be to levy a fee on carbon emissions. British Columbia and Sweden are doing so and are reducing their emissions. This action also encourages more green energy development.

As J. Maarten Troost writes, "Islanders are the canaries in the coal mine." We'd be wise to pay attention.

Penelope Mann


Increasingly dire predictions from the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lately have been borne out in the disheartening experience of an island nation's ecological destruction by rising seas. After more than a millennium of human habitation, Kiribati has become ever more desolate.

Kiribati's fate portends far-ranging environmental devastation throughout the planet. In time, however, nature will bounce back. Mankind's ceaseless environmental affronts ineluctably will prove so self-destructive as to decimate our numbers, thereby enabling the natural world to recover.

Would that human populations returned to sustainable levels through enlightened multinational planning and cooperation rather than, as the IPCC predicts, through the ghastly processes of famine, disease and war.

Alas, the latter appear far more likely, what with rampant climate-change denial.

Gary Dolgin

Santa Monica


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