Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Connie Young -12-29-2015 - Editorial Got Climate Change Half Right

 Editorial Got Climate Change Half Right
December 29, 2015

I appreciate The Bee Editorial Board’s bold stand on climate change Dec. 23. We agree on most of its proposed solutions, especially the need to pay for the hidden costs associated with carbon emissions. However, we differ in the way those costs should be paid.

Any additional gas tax should be returned to people via a dividend, otherwise it would be a hardship for the poor, many of whom can’t afford newer, fuel-efficient vehicles. Returning it via dividend would also avoid the revenue distribution problems associated with methods such as cap-and-trade.

Consider assessing a national fee on all fossil fuels, wherever they are produced or enter the country. Give all the proceeds equally to U.S. households, in the form of a dividend, to protect them from rising prices. This will enable them to buy cleaner energy and more efficient products as they become more affordable. Place a border tariff on imports from countries that don’t have a carbon pricing system, to protect U.S. businesses from unfair competition. Subsidies and excessive regulations won’t be needed.

It’s called revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend and it’s time for Congress to make it a reality.

Connie Young,
Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Fresno

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article51919710.html#storylink=cpy

Monday, December 14, 2015

Victor Kral - 12-14-2015 - Climate Lobby likes cash for Consumers

December 14, 2015

We are learning today that America’s middle class is no longer the majority of the population.

We all know about the rising cost of home-energy use, the increases in student loans, the vast number of jobs being created paying minimum wage, high cost of health care, and huge financial burdens being placed on America’s shrinking middle class.

There is one organization that has a plan to put hard cash back into the average American’s household budget. Citizens Climate Lobby proposes refunding fees collected at the source of fossil-fuel mining and returning that money to consumers, encouraging cleaner energy development and rewards to benefit the industries’ consumers.

What other program proposes putting money into your pockets?

 V.E. Kral, Fresno

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article49318045.html#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Don Gaede - 12/3/2015 - Addressing climate change is smart

Addressing climate change is smart

The effects of climate change are grossly unfair. As India’s prime minister Narendra Modi stated Nov. 30, “Climate change is not of our making. But we in India face its consequences today. We see it in the risks to our farmers, the changes in weather patterns, and the intensity of natural disasters.”
In our Valley, climate change will have a disproportional effect on the poor and vulnerable. More frequent heat waves may overwhelm their swamp coolers and air conditioners and spike their electricity bills. Farm workers and other outdoor workers will face higher risks of dehydration and heat stroke as summer temperatures rise to record levels. 
Higher temperatures cause production of more ozone, so persons with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart conditions – and especially children –will suffer more often. More frequent wildfires will foul our air with fine particles. Those higher health care costs will be borne by all of us – rich and poor.
We need a healthy climate that doesn’t threaten the health of the least deserving. I sincerely hope the ongoing Paris climate talks make real progress toward addressing this issue.
It’s not only the fair thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do.

Don Gaede

Ruth Afifi - 12/2/2015 -Ag shows great promise in climate change solutions”

Ag shows great promise in climate change solutions”  
December 2, 2015

Although agriculture is not on the agenda of the Paris climate talks beginning this week, its potential to fight global warming is being recognized.
For example, a recent Bee article – “Firebaugh farmer honored by White House for soil health techniques” (Nov. 21) – tells how Jesse Sanchez, the field manager at Sano Farms, has reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased the soil’s carbon and nitrogen content on 4,000 acres of garbanzo beans, garlic, almonds, pistachios, and tomatoes. 
It’s good news that the White House is honoring farmers who use sustainable and climate-smart practices. 
California, too, has recognized agriculture’s important role with The Agricultural Climate Benefits Act (Senate Bill 367), which was introduced in the legislature in 2015. When the bill passes, it will encourage greater use of the healthy-soil methods which Jesse Sanchez and others have developed over years of experimenting. 
These methods are needed worldwide to reduce agricultural emissions and sequester atmospheric carbon. To quote Bill McKibben, a leader in the search for global-warming solutions: “On the long list of things we have to do to fight climate change, learning to pay attention to soil again is near the top.”

Ruth Afifi

Twyla Smith - 11/14/1015 - Don't Mess With Mother Nature

Don't Mess With Mother Nature
November 14, 2015

Years ago, Chiffon margarine commercials warned us, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature.” Recent reports of starving sea lion pups, mass invasions of jellyfish, coral bleaching and unusually large and persistent algae blooms indicate that we are now fooling around with Mother Nature on a massive scale.
As Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington put it, “We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation who can do something about it.”
We need legislation to address this problem now, but not the complicated, opaque cap-and-trade kind that allows for gaming the system, or makes average Americans foot most of the bill. We need a gradually increasing carbon pollution fee that’s returned to every American. This plan is advocated by many economists, including eight Nobel Prize winners.
Studies estimate it will create 2.8 million jobs, and add $75-80 billion annually to our gross domestic product, while middle and lower income Americans will actually see their incomes rise.
We have a whole lot to lose if we continue messing with Mother Nature – and much more to gain by treating the lady with respect.

Twyla Smith

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article44821995.html#storylink=cpy


David Boos - 11/16/2015 - Watch Dangerously With Your Kids

Watch "Dangerously" With Your Kids
November 16, 2015

   I recently watched the nine-episode television documentary, “Years of Living Dangerously.”
It tells the story of climate change beginning with the first three episodes in the U.S. and the remaining six filmed in other parts of the world.
   Aerial views of Dhaka, Bangladesh underwater, the migration of tens of thousands of people due to flooding and loss of their homes and livelihood, the collection of ice-core samples by scientists in the Chilean Andes provide data supporting what has been occurring with climate in the past 30 years is very real.
    Regardless of one’s views, conservative or progressive, none of us will be exempted from these changes unless we begin now to change the way we live.
Netflix has this series in its streaming inventory, and I encourage you to view it. Include in your audience young people, and watch their reaction as well as the film.

David Boos

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article45085695.html#storylink=cpy


Matthew Armstrong - 11/15/2015 - Investors Prepare for Climate Change

Investors Prepare for Climate Change
November 15, 2015

    On Nov. 11, I read an article in The New York Times about how investors are preparing for climate change. It was a reminder that, even as politicians and pundits continue to claim that their own assumptions trump the scientific data, those who must deal in reality – like investors, the Pentagon, and the insurance industry – are all continuing to take climate change into account.
    As world leaders prepare for the upcoming climate change conference in Paris, we would do well to contact our elected officials and remind them that this is a serious matter, and that they need to support policies that will help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Matthew Armstrong

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article44825730.html#storylink=cpy

Friday, October 30, 2015

Ted Hamilton - 10-21-2015 - Clean Energy Creates Jobs

Clean energy creates jobs

I wish to address points put forth by Michael Freeman in his letter, “Green energy costs jobs” (Oct. 11). As 97 percent of climate scientists have been warning us, global CO2 levels continue to rise from the burning of fossil fuels, which are heating the planet and creating melting glaciers, extreme weather and ocean acidification. Clearly, we need to drastically reduce fossil-fuel emissions and promote clean energy alternatives.
Mr. Freeman criticizes Germany for the “unreliability” of its renewables and its “erratic energy availability” leading to “high unemployment.” Germany’s unemployment rate (4.5 percent) is better than that of its neighbors in the European Union. Germany meets 78 percent of its electricity demand with renewable sources, exceeding the previous record of 74 percent set in May of 2014.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s proposal for a revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend is designed to give all revenues collected from pricing carbon emissions back to American households. A study by Regional Economic Models, Inc. shows that the CCL proposal will sharply reduce CO2 levels and add 2.8 million jobs in 20 years by promoting clean energy.

Ruth Afifi - 10-18-2015 - Vote for the Gibson Resolution

Vote for the Gibson Resolution 

Nine years ago, California legislators had the wisdom and courage to pass a landmark climate change bill – the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32). Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed it, and four years later, California voters decisively defeated a proposition to suspend it. 
Last week, thanks to Andrea Castillo’s article in the Oct. 7 Bee, we learned that the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund will support a local project to convert food and agricultural waste to biomethane, “a low greenhouse gas-emitting fuel.” This local program will annually divert more than 65,000 tons of carbon dioxide because of California’s determination to apply global-warming solutions. 
Now we need California’s congressional representatives to promote federal action on climate change. For starters, they can sign the Republican-authored Gibson Resolution (House Resolution 424). This non-binding resolution recognizes the government’s responsibility to deal with climate change, which the resolution says will “saddle future generations with costly economic and environmental burdens.” 
By signing onto the Gibson Resolution, the Valley’s representatives will show true leadership on the great issue of our time.

Don Gaede - 10-19-2015 - Fossil fuel fee would benefit rich and poor.

Fossil fuel fee would benefit rich and poor

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article39373995.html#storylink=cpy

Bryan Apper - 10-23-2015 - Valley Farms are in Peril

Valley farms are in peril


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Connie Young 10/9/2015 Learn from South Carolina’s mistakes on climate change

Learn from South Carolina’s mistakes on climate change

Online 10/9/15   Print 10/10/15

In 2010, South Carolina Republican Bob Inglis lost his bid for re-election to the House of Representatives in part because he spoke out about the need to address climate change. For that reason, Mr. Inglis was this year’s recipient of the John F. Kennedy Library’s prestigious Profile in Courage Award, given to a public servant who takes a principled but unpopular position.

This week, as they struggle with historic rainfall and flooding, many South Carolinians may be wishing they had elected Mr. Inglis instead of his short-sighted opponent. By heeding climate science, Mr. Inglis might have ensured that the state was better prepared for extreme weather. Equally important, he would have have advocated for Congressional action on climate change.

As we Californians cope with mega-fires and the hottest and driest three years in 12 centuries, we can learn from South Carolina’s mistake. Let’s find out what our members of Congress think and are doing about climate change. Locally, constituents of Congressmen Kevin McCarthy, Tom McClintock and Devin Nunes can urge them to support the Republican-sponsored Gibson resolution (HR 424), which calls for Congressional action on climate change.

All politicians want to be on the right side of history. This is their chance!

Connie Young

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Victor Kral - 10-5-2015 Make big polluters pay, give money back to consumers

 Make big polluters pay, give money back to consumers

In contrast to the belief that dependency on high carbon-producing energy sources will ensure economic benefits to those living in poverty, the pope brought out a different perspective.

Dependency on coal, gas and oil will further erode the living standards of the poor. Reducing traditional energy dependence and moving to solar, wind and other less-damaging resources will improve the economics of the poor, with jobs in new industry, less forest devastation, better fishing opportunities and lower health costs for everyone. 

Citizens Climate Lobby proposes fees, charged to present-day big polluters, be returned directly to consumers, thus helping everyone. Now that is religion.

Victor Kral
October 5, 2015

Pete Moe 9-29-2015 Nunes should support environmental protections

Nunes should support environmental protections 

On Sept. 24, Pope Francis addressed a joint session of our Congress with a thrilling and uplifting vision of the future.

One of his major points was protection of the earth and climate. The pope stated, “In Laudato Si’, I call for a courageous and responsible effort to ‘redirect our steps’, and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. I am convinced that we can make a difference and I have no doubt that the United States – and this Congress – have an important role to play.”

Immediately after this historic speech, Congressman Devin Nunes was interviewed by NPR. He said, “Everybody here wants to protect the environment. The question is, does global warming really exist? You know, I think that’s still left out there. But in terms of protecting the environment, that’s something Republicans and Democrats all want to do.”

I am very pleased Rep. Nunes wants to protect our environment. The newly introduced Gibson Resolution states that Congress should take action on “mitigating efforts and efforts to balance human activities that have been found to have an impact.” I encourage Rep. Nunes to endorse this Republican-authored and supported resolution.

Pete Moe, Clovis
September 29, 2015

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article36877989.html#storylink=cpy


Matt Armstrong 9-25-2015 Heed Pope's Advice on Climate Change.

Heed pope’s advice on climate change

As the Pope comes to visit the U.S. and we head toward the Paris Climate Summit later this year, it is worthwhile to reflect on a simple fact: people in positions of knowledge and authority, including the pope, have begun to take the science demonstrating human-caused climate change seriously. 

Although many political and media figures in the U.S. continue to claim that this is just foolishness on the part of tree huggers, and some even engage in conspiracy theories about scientists, the recent papal encyclical is only one of many documents from well-respected sources that urge us to take immediate action to avert climate change disaster.

These sources include the Department of Defense, NASA, manufacturing consortiums, insurance companies, and even Citibank. Many fossil-fuel companies are also aware of the problem and, looking to the future, have actually begun requesting carbon pricing. 

These military and business interests echo the pope in asking us all to take our heads out of the sand. As we in the Valley look at our depleting aquifers, ongoing drought and increasingly severe forest fires, it is time we heed this advice.

Matt Armstrong
September 25, 2015 

Loren Alving 9-23-2015 Ask Nunes to Co-Sponsor Climate-Change Bill

Ask Nunes to co-sponsor climate-change bill

A sea change is occurring. Pope Francis and religious leaders from around the world are calling upon all of us, and world leaders in particular, to act on climate change.

Last week, 11 Republican members of the House of Representatives, lead by Chris Gibson, R-N.Y., introduced House Resolution 424, which recognizes the impact of climate change and calls for action to reduce future risk. 

I applaud the sponsors of this resolution. As the world’s largest economic power, the actions of United States are especially important. So far, Congress has shirked leadership on this critical issue. This represents a major breakthrough, coming as it does from the Republican Party.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, has been involved in energy legislation; four years ago, he authored the Energy Roadmap bill. This bill was admirable for promoting alternative energy sources but did not address climate change. 

We can no longer ignore the science. We can no longer ignore the changes in the world around us. And we can no longer be complacent. Please join me in asking Rep. Nunes to join these courageous and forward-thinking politicians and to co-sponsor this resolution.

Loren Alving
September 23, 2015

Devin Carroll 9-18-2015 World Religions Join Campaign for Climate Policy

  World Religions Join Campaign for Climate Policy

Laudato Si’: On the Care of Our Common Home.  With this Encyclical Pope Francis charges Catholics to act to slow climate change and mitigate its harm to all life and people, especially the poor.
With support from both science and scripture, Francis frames this as a moral issue.  The causes of the crisis come mainly from wealthier nations and people, but the most catastrophic harm will fall on the poorer nations and peoples of the world. 
Francis is in good religious company.
Orthodox Christianity, the World Evangelical Alliance and the World Council of Churches all joined Francis in the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation.  Many Christians have signed the Evangelical Climate Initiative.
This year in Istanbul, the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change called for oil producing states and wealthy nations to phase out emissions and help poorer nations develop clean energy.
Rabbis from all branches of Judaism signed the Jewish Environmental and Energy Imperative in 2012.
Ba’hai, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and especially indigenous peoples, are urging world leaders to act decisively.
Valley people of faith, I ask you to call on Congress to pass effective climate policy now.

Devin Carroll
Published in Fresno Bee on 9-18-2015

Twyla Smith - 8-31-2015 -

As more and more reports come in verifying the warnings of scientists about climate change (drought, wildfire, species extinction etc.) and the negative impacts on our environment and most especially on our economy, it becomes clear that our government will adopt ever-stricter global warming regulations.

The form will most likely be in some sort of tax on carbon energy sources (gas, coal etc.)

There are several problems with this scenario—most obviously the resultant drag on our economy, and the unfair impact on the poor.

But the big question is what will our government do with this revenue?

Recall the extensive list of taxpayer subsidized green energy disasters——SoIyndra, Fisker Automotive, Beacon Power, A123 Systems Inc. to name a few. Just think ofthe money wasted in the maze of bureaucracy, with little or no effect on the problem.

How about if that money, the extra money we will be forced to pay each time we fill up with gas or use electricity, came right back where it belongs—to us? That is the Fee and Dividend plan suggested by Citizens' Climate Lobby in a nutshell. instead of a drag on the economy, we believe it would stimulate it.

Instead of the government choosing winners and losers, the free market makes those determinations.
instead of a bevy of complex and confusing regulations, a simple, easy to understand and hard to cheat on alternative—Fee and Dividend, with all the monies returned to the American public.

It is time for We, The People to take charge of this problem with a solution that works for us—not the

Twyla Smith

(We could not find this letter online on the Bee website)

Don Gaede 8-27-2015 Calculate true cost of climate change strategy

Calculate true cost of climate change strategy
Many of our congressional representatives refuse to act on climate change because, they explain, “It would damage the economy.”

Citigroup, one of the four largest banks in the U.S., is hardly a radical environmental organization. So it is very interesting to read the report they published this month, in which they compare the cost of action on climate change to the cost of inaction.

They say that if the scientists are right about climate change, a “do-nothing” strategy could damage the global economy to the tune of $44 trillion by 2060. On the other hand, acting to prevent climate change offers a reasonably good return on investment – in the range of 3-10 percent.

Citigroup concludes that when you consider the economic benefits of taking action, combined with other benefits like cleaner air, you begin to ask, “Why would you not?”

The rising cost of fighting forest fires – almost $2 billion last year – is just one example of how climate change can adversely affect our economy.

So I ask our congressional representatives: In light of the threat that climate change poses to our economy, and to the quality of our air, why are you not acting on climate change?

Don Gaede
August 27, 2015 

Connie Young 8-25-2015 Take Action on Climate Change

Take action on climate change

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article32249964.html#storylink=cpy

Ray West 8-11-2015 Fund Healthy Forest Practices

Fund healthy forest practices

A few years ago, there was an enormous systematic effort in Sequoia National Monument to reduce fuels around structures and communities within the monument. With popular support among all parties, dense stands of small trees, brush and dead ground fuel that were near settlements were piled and burned. So far there have been no fires to test whether it will actually protect structures from wildfires, but I don’t see how it could not.
I agree with The Bee editorial that the practice of removing funds for programs like this to fight wildfires is unwise. Wildfire has been a part of Western forests for as long as they have existed. However, the man-made climate change that we are experiencing, the earlier arrival of spring, higher temperatures, dryer soil and vegetation is unprecedented as far back as any proxy measurements can be made. This reality, along with a hundred-year-old policy of interrupting the natural fire regimen has resulted in a real risk of catastrophic changes to Sierra forests. 
We need long-term plans to address this, to adapt to coming changes and to avert them by moving to non-fossil forms of energy.


Raymond West 
August 11, 2015

Matt Armstrong 7-19-2015 Let Consumers Decide

Let consumers decide

Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article27519466.html#storylink=cpy

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Ruth Afifi 7/23/2015 Thanks for Correcting Mini-Ice Age Rumor

Thanks for correcting mini-ice age rumor

Many thanks for reprinting “News about imminent ‘mini-ice age’ not true” on July 15.

In contrast, because of a faulty interpretation of one study about sunspots, the Portland Oregonian and other news sources warned people to “enjoy summer now, a new ice age is coming.”

I applaud The Bee for setting the record straight.

Ruth Afifi, Fresno


Matt Armstrong 7/19/2015 Let Consumers Decide

Let Consumers Decide
July 19, 2015

I am writing in response to the op-ed written by Ashley Swearengin and Lucy Dunn (“Be careful on sweeping climate change bill” July 10).

I appreciate that they are concerned about the potential economic impacts of the governor’s plan to address climate change, but unchecked global warming will do significant harm to the global economy (especially in agricultural areas like the San Joaquin Valley). If we are asked to not address climate change in order to avoid economic woes, we are behaving like someone plundering their retirement account to solve easy, short-term money problems.

The Citizen’s Climate Lobby has proposed a solution that would address many of Mayor Swearengin’s and Ms. Dunn’s concerns: carbon fee and dividend. Under this plan, a fee is collected on fossil-fuel extraction, and then returned to the public as part of a monthly dividend.

This plan would put pressure on producers to be more efficient in their use of energy and materials and to shift towards non-polluting energy sources, while keeping money in the pockets of consumers, stimulating the economy. This would spur innovation by putting decisions in the hands of consumers on the open market.

Matt Armstrong