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Solving climate change may not be fair, but it's urgent anyway


Those who assert that action on climate change should only happen if it’s fair, just don’t understand the problem.

It may be true that other countries are egregious polluters, adding as much carbon and other warming agents to the atmosphere, or even more, than the United States. But the situation is too urgent to wait to even set our goals just because somebody else is worse. The minimal requirements of the Paris agreement from which President Trump withdrew the U.S. are truly minimal, and we’re nowhere near meeting even those, as a nation or a world.

Ideas about spurring innovation, putting capitalism to work on the fixes needed and encouraging more of what we’re doing right in the effort to combat climate change are all fine. And recognizing hydropower as a part of the solution is the right direction. In fact, as Rep. Dan Newhouse writes on this page, our state’s all-of-the-above approach is appropriate when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the use of non-fossil-fuel energy.

But a refusal to promise to do our part to keep the planet from warming by 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century is worse than self-destructive. Currently, the world is on track to hit 4 degrees of warming if we don’t make large, systemic changes worldwide. It’s a deadly serious problem, and politicians should be made to heed it.

The U.S. House of Representatives did the right thing by passing legislation to try to force the president to participate in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Scott Hunter

Editor and publisher

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