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Letters for Oct. 3, 2023

Alternative facts?

One person’s response (“Let both sides be fairly heard,” Sept. 11) to my letter to the editor on the importance of fact-based political problem-solving (“Fact-based approach to political problem-solving,” Aug. 29) illustrated my point: “It’s not what you don’t know that is the problem, it’s what you do know that isn’t so.”

He contested whether global warming is really settled science and suggested that we should “gather input from across a wider spectrum of scientists rather than just from the alarmist end of the spectrum.”

OK. There is now a 99.9% consensus of the thousands of professional climate scientists, worldwide, in 88,000-plus peer reviewed studies, that global warming is real and primarily human caused (Cornell Chronicle). NASA says: “The influence of human activity on the warming of the climate system has evolved from theory to established fact.”

Would you call that “the alarmist end of the spectrum”?

He highlighted three scientists (Dr. Judith Curry, Dr. Roy Spencer and Gregory Wrightsone) who don’t agree and suggested that we should hear them too. The problem is they have been heard. Their papers have been reviewed and found to present no credible disconfirming data (Skeptical Science website). Presenting them as equal in weight to the 99.9% consensus of all climate scientists is false equivalence. Focusing on sources that support your opinion is confirmation bias.

As Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said: “You are entitled to your own opinions but not to your own facts.”

Global warming is a fact. Denying it is a problem.

Dan Distelhorst


Need rapid climate action now

In Shawn Vestal’s Sept. 13 opinion piece, “Consensus on warming human activity ‘unequivocal,’ ” he reminds us global warming is no longer a threat, but a human-caused crisis threatening life on Earth. The scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is clear: “Limiting warming to 1.5 C and 2 C involves rapid, deep and in most cases immediate greenhouse gas emission reductions” this decade if we are to “secure a livable and sustainable future for all.”

The necessary changes in our global energy infrastructure require a revolutionary change in the way we think about life and the Earth’s ecosystems. Along with a rapid shift in how we use energy, we need a massive change in values. Securing a decent future requires a shift from valuing things over people. Our addictions to consumerism and fossil fuels are killing us.

Political representatives must resist the temptation to treat global warming as merely another talking point. The heating planet is the greatest problem in history. If we fail to act today, we may guarantee a tragic end to our story.

We must demand our representatives act on global warming now – from the city to the state and federal level. We must also support grass-roots efforts and fight to protect those most vulnerable.

Please join me in the Citizens Climate Lobby and 350 Spokane, two local organizations working and organizing to fight for climate justice and to secure a livable future for all.

Russell Webster


Shifting the criticism

It seems to me that Jim Camden is probably a pretty decent fellow, someone who I’d enjoy having a beer with, if I drank beer. That doesn’t preclude me from calling him out when I interpret his column as being an apologist for the progressives.

In his Sept. 24 Spin Control column about legislators’ dress standards, he appears to draw the conclusion that lawmakers can be effective no matter how they dress. I think that can apply for nearly all white-collar jobs, and I’m in full agreement.

Setting aside the issue of the propriety of decorum for the moment, what Mr. Camden failed to acknowledge is that Sen. John Fetterman was the trouble maker. He rebelled against the Senate rules by commonly dressing in shorts, a hoodie and flip flops. Instead of taking action against the rebel, the rebel’s party changed the rule to fit the rebel. Changing the rules to protect perpetrators seems to be a leg of the Democratic Party’s platform. Talk about collusion! Donald Trump never engaged in it with such effectiveness.

Distracting from consideration of this point, Mr. Camden shifts the criticism to those who object to the image Sen. Fetterman is bringing to the Senate, the more thoughtful and deliberate chamber, i.e. the more cerebral legislators of the bicameral system. Perhaps the Senate Democrats have shown the Senate’s accurate character when they allow each other to dress as gangsters and thugs.

Duncan Bean

Spokane Valley

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