To the Editor:

Recently, the Democratic National Committee declared, in response to a request to hold a special debate on climate change, that it did not want to have a debate on just a single issue, implying that climate change is just one issue among many of equal importance. Climate change is not just one issue among many; it is the issue. If we fail to meet its challenge, not much else matters.

I am old enough to remember World War II. During that struggle, all resources were mobilized to support the war effort. Everything else was subordinated to that effort. Everyone was involved in some way in trying to bring about victory. All levels of government did their part. In Kittitas County, particularly early in the war, guards patrolled the irrigation flumes to prevent possible sabotage.

Today, we are facing a crisis, every bit as threatening to our national life, and, indeed, all of civilization as that of World War II. Some of the adverse results of global warming we are already experiencing — increased and more severe wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, ocean acidification threatening many aquatic species. An enormous threat that we are only beginning to see is thawing of the permafrost in Siberia, Alaska, and other northern realms, which not only threatens infrastructures built upon it, but promises to release carbon and methane as it thaws. Scientists estimate that the permafrost contains 1,500 billion tons of carbon, almost double the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere.

Climate change is not just another in the many climate cycles experienced in the past. Scientists have checked this out. Factors that explain climate change in the past do not explain what is happening to us today. It is human caused. There must be an adequate human response.

Larry Lowther



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