There is no Planet B

Published 5:25 pm Friday, April 17, 2020

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To the Editor:

It has been 50 years since the first Earth Day in April 1970. According to our best scientists, the planet is in jeopardy today. Let’s look at the facts.

The 2019 global temperature was the second-warmest on record, second only to 2016. Nineteen of the 20 warmest years have all occurred since 2001. The five warmest years on record have all occurred since 2010. Winter, December to February in the northern hemisphere, was the second-warmest seasonal period in the 141-year record. The last decade was the warmest in recorded history. Ice is melting in the Arctic, and ice is actually melting six times faster in Greenland and Antarctica than in the 1990s. Ice is declining and glaciers are retreating almost everywhere in the world. The average surface temperature of the earth has increased 1.62 degrees since 1880. Sea levels rose eight inches in the last century.

Yes, sea levels have risen before, but there was no coastal development or human habitation threatened back then. Is it all because of heat-trapping gases? Carbon dioxide levels (413 ppm) are higher now than in the last 800,000 years; the second-highest period was 325,000 years ago at 300 ppm. Earth’s climate has remained relatively stable for the last 12,000 years, until the 20th century. According to The Royal Society, if we do nothing, we can expect the earth to warm 4.7 degrees to 8.6 degrees by 2100 — just 80 years from now. Australia burned … and California, Alaska, Siberia and the Amazon. In 2019, more than 310,000 acres of the Amazon basin were destroyed through deforestation and burning. Skeptics will point out that Alaska, northern Canada and eastern Russia were abnormally cold, but the warming trend of our planet is undeniable.

My data comes from NOAA, NASA, the United Nations, the journal “Nature” and the Pacific Institute. Feel free to fact-check me. The facts support that we need decisive action now! Climate scientists agree that climate change is accelerating, and most agree we have less than 10 years to turn this tide. This is not about the planet — it will survive regardless. It is about us, our children, our grandchildren and the health and safety of the human race.

There is no Planet B!


Joe Hester

Rocky Mount/Washington