Climate change


To the editor,


Well, 2014 is a midterm election year and we’ll spend much time debating things like education, income inequality, immigration, minimum wage and a host of other issues. That’s good. These are all important issues and we need progressive, liberal solutions to all of them if we are going to continue as a functioning society. But even if we get all those progressive, liberal solutions to all those issues, climate change will still get us.

Climate change is not something that is on the horizon, waiting for our children to solve. Our serial inaction has taken that option away from them. Climate change is here. Now. The data have been there for years - warmer temperatures, melting ice caps, warmer, more acidic oceans. Now we’re beginning to see the results of what the data show -more severe storms, extended drought, shifting weather patterns. Many of these results exceed model predictions. As we approach 400 ppm carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere (we’re at about 370) we approach a threshold beyond which lies much more uncertainty, and many fewer options.

Montana will become warmer and drier. Winters will be shorter with less snow. Southwestern deserts will begin to move north. Pine beetles will more often get two flights a year, killing more trees and making forest fires more frequent and intense. Water will become more valuable. Our past land-use will rise up to bite us. Many riparian areas for instance have lost their ability to store water (and we all know why that is, don’t we?) so what we do get will be lost downstream.

You can blame anyone who has voted for a Republican in the past twenty years, but really the time for blame is past. We need strong, aggressive Federal leadership on all to fronts to limit the impacts of climate change. Obama’s fuel standards were a good start, but he needs a functioning Congress to do the rest.

Senate candidate Steve Daines has been silent on his position. That means he’s either waiting for the last 3% of scientists to check in, in which case he’s a fool, or he’s triangulating his position to seem like he’s concerned but leave himself enough wiggle room to do nothing - in which case he’s a charlatan and not fit for public office.

When it comes time to vote in November, is there really another issue? Really?


Pete Bengeyfield