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Editor:

It is critically important to life on Earth that we take immediate, concrete steps to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We are now sitting at 408.88 ppm CO2, way above the highest historic level of 280 ppm, as evidenced by ice cores and sediment layers for the past 800,000 years. That is back through several ice ages and warming times. This is supported by science and there is no question about the effects of this increased CO2 in the atmosphere. It has and will continue to trap more and more heat energy in the atmosphere, causing earth to warm at an accelerated pace.

The Clean Power Plan is a good first step toward reaching our goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2030, only 12 years from now. Devastating storms with record amounts of rainfall, record-setting heat waves and droughts are becoming the norm, not the exception. Cape Town, South Africa, is running out of water. A city of 4 million people, and each person is allotted 50 liters (13 gallons) of water per day. For comparison, in Gillette, over the past 10 years, we have consumed on average 143 gallons of water per day.

The EPA needs to retain authority to enforce limits on states’ emissions of GHG. We should see how we can tweak the CPP to actually reduce the amount of CO2 emissions even below the levels proposed under the CPP. Curbing climate change is analogous to stopping a freight train. You cannot stop it on a dime, it must be slowly stopped.

Under the Endangerment Finding of the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency must do everything possible to protect our health from polluted air, severe heat waves, monster storms, droughts and floods. The Clean Power Plan is a good first step toward this goal.

CHRISTY GERRITS, Gillette 

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