Letter to the Editor

Costly impacts from climate change continue to rise


Climate scientist Dr. Michael Mann summarized this succinctly in a recent Washington Post editorial (Nov. 2, 2018) where he stated, “A warmer ocean evaporates more moisture into the atmosphere — so you get worse flooding from coastal storms (think Hurricanes Harvey and Florence). Warmer soils evaporate more moisture into the atmosphere - so you get worse droughts (think California or Syria). Global warming shifts the extreme upper tail of the ‘bell curve’ toward higher temperatures, so you get more frequent and intense heat waves (think summer 2018 just about anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere). Combine heat and drought, and you get worse wildfires (again, think California).”

Climate change-enhanced drought has been widely implicated as a factor initiating the Syrian civil war and for contributing to the extreme poverty that is forcing current migration from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Closer to home, ocean acidification has been identified as the reason that oysters harvested from Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor no longer reproduce in local waters. To stay in business, our local oyster industry has spent millions to construct remote facilities or amend sea water composition in tanks to replenish their production beds.

Damage caused or amplified by existing global warming in the United States from hurricanes, wildfires, coastal inundation and acidification exceeds $100 billion annually and includes tragic loss of human life and habitat.

Transition to 100 percent clean energy here in Washington state will create living-wage jobs that cannot be outsourced, will grow our state’s economy and lead the way to a more resilient future. Please urge your state legislator to support the Clean, Renewable Energy Bill that will require 100 percent fossil-free generation of electricity by 2045. In a state with so much hydroelectric power, it is the least we should do.

Richard Jahnke

Port Townsend


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