Camden Herald letters to the editor, Sept. 7

Sep 07, 2017

Hurricane Harvey, climate change and Citizens Climate Lobby

As I watched the reports about Hurricane Harvey's devastating impact on Houston I found myself recalling watching the same sort of devastating reports from New Orleans in 2005. At that time I said to my husband as we watched, "This is just the beginning." What I meant was this: having been a layman student of climate change, I knew full well that these storms, which are naturally occurring events, are intensified by the consequences of our putting 40 percent more green house gases in the atmosphere than there were before we started burning fossil fuels. I knew, and know, that they will continue happening until we take action to stabilize the climate by reducing the amount of green house gases we are putting into the atmosphere.

So it has been with a rueful and aching heart that I have watched the really astonishing reports from Texas.

At the same time witnessing this disaster has strengthened my resolve to do all I can to support the actions that I believe most effectively address the underlying cause of these intensified extreme weather events. I have recently joined an organization that focuses its work on building the political will among us, both citizens and legislators, to pass comprehensive legislation to shift the market away from the greenhouse gases causing climate change. Putting a price on carbon is the only legislative move that matches the scale of the problem we face.

Citizens Climate Lobby proposes a carbon fee and dividend. A national carbon pricing bill would require fossil fuel companies of all sorts to pay a fee for every ton of carbon dioxide or equivalent emissions. As the price rises each year, and as businesses look after their bottom lines, the market will quickly turn to low or no carbon options. If all of that revenue were returned equally to American households in the form of a dividend, studies show it would boost the economy and bring many jobs.

And, of course, it would drive our emissions down and set us on a course to stabilize our climate.

Citizens Climate Lobby is non partisan. This type of plan is also supported by the Climate Leadership Council, which is led by Republican statesmen. A paper released by that group explains that pricing carbon and returning the revenue to Americans will "strengthen our economy, reduce regulation, help working-class Americans, shrink government, and promote national security."

Please consider exploring the work of Citizens Climate Lobby on the internet. There you will find a rich array of information about their work. A chapter of CCL will soon be forming in the Midcoast area.

Jean Matlack



The president's childish mindset

President Trump's repeated use of a specious story about General Pershing and Muslim insurgents in the Philippines speaks volumes about his childish mindset when facing real-world security issues.

In the false narrative Pershing ordered 49 rebels killed with bullets dipped in pig's blood. He then ordered the surviving rebel to tell his people what happened. In Trump's imagined world, "There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years."

Beyond Trump's infatuation with generals and his readiness to embrace conspiracy theories and phony history, the Pershing anecdote celebrates an atrocity, a war-crime totally contrary to Pershing's actual behavior toward Muslims in the Philippines. The most telling aspect of Trump's engagement with the Pershing fantasy is his belief in the extended effectiveness of an iconic act of brutal intimidation (whether real or merely verbal). The notion that the Muslim insurgency in the Philippines was quelled for decades by the mass execution is dangerous nonsense and an appalling misreading of real world consequences.

It is comparable to believing that the "Boston Massacre" by British troops in 1770 should have quelled revolutionary fervor in the American colonies for years afterward. Such is the mentality of the man/child who now serves as our President.

James Matlack


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