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Opinion | The Climate Summit in Glasgow: ‘Let’s Choose Life’

To the Editor:

Re “The Global Stakes at Glasgow” (editorial, Oct. 24):

Success in Glasgow will not look like anything from past climate summits. It will be measured by what concrete actions are taken, mainly by the United States, and which are followed up on.

The fact that some major polluters have not accepted invitations to join the summit will not bode well for a global effort to reduce and/or reverse the deadly and disastrous effects of a warming planet. But the United States, under a confident and forceful President Biden, can certainly set the right example.

If Congress would pass Mr. Biden’s Build Back Better legislation, with significant climate provisions included, it would help the president pressure other countries to follow suit and reduce their carbon dioxide pollution.

Our small blue dot in this vast universe is warming, and we can clearly see the effects in severe weather around the globe, melting ice sheets in Greenland and the Arctic, wildfires in the West, horrendous hurricanes in the South and East, and severe drought in the Midwest and West.

We must make Glasgow a success. If not, and all we get are promises without action, our future on planet Earth does not stand a chance against global climate change.

Henry A. Lowenstein
New York

To the Editor:

With the climate conference just days away, it’s time for President Biden to make an end run. Pleading with Congress to address climate change wastes time. After Senator Joe Manchin and corporate puppet-masters get finished dictating the terms, any bill will be a shadow of what we need.

Instead, use the stalemate to classify our antiquated and vulnerable electrical grid as a top national defense priority. Mr. Biden, our commander in chief, should direct the national grid’s clean-energy overhaul through the Defense Department, ordering a climate change moonshot. This would both provide a powerful jump-start to our economy and spark a new era in U.S.-based manufacturing.

Let our defense investment be wielded to defend against the twin threat of grid hackers and climate upheaval.

Rebecca Alban Hoffberger
Owings Mills, Md.

To the Editor:

Until recently, the United States was the world’s biggest carbon emitter. In the last couple of decades, China surpassed us. After the COP-21 climate summit, the U.S. and China in 2016 jointly announced that they were ratifying the Paris Agreement. Even though the carbon reduction pledges fell far short of what the world needs to accomplish, we were headed in the right direction.

Then came Donald Trump, who pulled the United States out of the agreement. Now, most world leaders have little confidence that the United States will honor any pledges made in Glasgow because they fear that if Mr. Trump gets re-elected, he’ll cancel them again.

Richard Whiteford
West Chester, Pa.
The writer is an environmental journalist and climate change consultant and educator.

Opinion Conversation
The climate, and the world, are changing. What challenges will the future bring, and how should we respond to them?

To the Editor:

Whatever happens in Glasgow or Washington, D.C., let’s each think of our loved ones and descendants, stop asking what global acts are sufficient, focus on what local acts are necessary, pledge to become part of the solution, and act accordingly through our dollars, our votes and our daily lives.

At this stage, each of us either avidly learns to take action, or passively prepares for extinction.

Let’s choose life.

Alan S. Fintz

To the Editor:

When I was a young child, Plan A, if my parents weren’t home when I arrived from school, was to ask the neighbors for help. Plan B was to wait. And Plan C was … to cry.

With the deadlocks, obstructions and self-interest (both partisan and personal) that characterize Congress in recent years, I despair of meaningful progress ever being made — not only on catastrophic climate change but also on prosperity, sustainability, civility, societal fairness of all sorts, and ethical conduct among our elected officials.

As a country, all we might have left is Plan C.

Daniel Gil Feuchtwanger

To the Editor:

Re “Vaccine by Pfizer Gets Key Backing for Children 5-11” (front page, Oct. 26):

I hesitate to raise this concern because I think protecting 5- to 11-year-olds from serious Covid-19 is appropriate, but I am concerned that one-third of the adult dose may not be enough for some of them. We have an obesity epidemic in this country, and many 10- and 11-year-olds weigh upwards of 125 pounds. If they were 12 they would get a full adult dose.

The medical community needs to monitor this very carefully.

Barbara Gold
The writer is a pediatrician.

To the Editor:

“‘Slowly Started Easing My Way Back’” (Inside The Times, Oct. 27) gives examples of re-entering the world after lockdown and sometimes “having a bumpy landing into in-person work and socializing again.”

This summer, I found myself mesmerized by an adorable toddler in Central Park. I walked up, took out my phone and snapped a few photos. The young mother rose from her bench like a mama bear.

“Oh, oh, I’m so sorry,” I stammered. “I’m a new grandma. Here, look, I’m deleting the photos. I think I forgot how to be a human being.”

She backed down. “No, no, it’s OK. I don’t know why I got so fierce. I think I forgot how to be in the world, too.”

We kept apologizing, awkwardly and profusely, and I offered to take a photo of the two of them that she could send to a faraway grandparent. She declined, and I hurried off, glad that my mask was covering my face.

Carol Weston
Armonk, N.Y.

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