[The Oregonian published Diana Meisenhelter’s Letter to the Editor on January 15, 2023.]
While I heartily agree with the January 8, 2023, Opinion page titled “2023 must be a year of courage and action,” I was appalled to see no mention of climate change and reducing emissions in this list demanding “accountability-focused leadership.”
Not only is climate emergency one of the greatest existential crises facing communities and the world, but climate chaos is happening much more rapidly than scientists predicted. Climate science says we MUST begin a substantial downward decline in emissions by 2025 and emissions must be halved by 2030, and yet both locally and globally greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise — including in 2022.
We cannot ignore these facts without unthinkable consequences. Already we are witnessing the impacts of climate chaos in flooding, droughts, fires, extreme heat and weather within the West and we are not even the hardest hit. The future impacts on lives, species, and the economy are approaching critical climate tipping points and yet the accountability for local leaders in terms of policies to truly address emissions reductions is nowhere to be found. The press is good at pointing out the dangers, but continually ignores the calls and work of local climate activists who actually point towards critically needed solutions. We all must demand better.