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Adapt or take action

Published November 7, 2012 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Two weeks ago, we had some early snow. The weather system that delivered it continued eastward. Combined with frigid air from Canada, that system helped pull Hurricane Sandy landward with increased force to batter the Northeast.

Such storms should set us thinking about climate. Not just to admit it's changing, but to take it as a challenge. Recall last summer's droughts and wildfires, or the fast-moving "derecho" thunderstorms in the Northeast that left millions without power? Or, not so long ago, the floods of Hurricane Katrina?

More and more, Americans now understand that climate change is real, and know that human actions help produce it. Should we "just adapt" to impacts like last summer's droughts and fires, or the trauma we see now in the Northeast?

We have a choice. When carbon costs more, less carbon will be burned, and cleaner ways to power our society will become opportunities.

We can limit the amount of fossil fuel we burn. We can legislate right now to put a rising fee on carbon and return the proceeds to the public.

Why adapt to something frightening when we can work together for a cleaner, safer, more productive way of life?

Robert Speiser

Salt Lake City