ISSUE | CLIMATE

Bay watch

Thanks for the editorial "Weaker than the storms" (Tuesday). Discussions of storm damage always seem to focus on ocean-side dunes and crashing waves behind weather reporters. But on a barrier island like Long Beach Island, storm surges can destroy the homes, properties, and lives of those who live on the bay side.

All the dune-building in the world will not have an impact on bay-side storm surges, in which the low-lying land is no match for the rapidly rising water. Where I live, in Beach Haven Park, I would venture to say that most of the damage was done by the bay surge, not ocean breaching.

The bay may look calm on a visit to our barrier island, but when the water level rises on the ocean side, it also rises on the bay side. Those ocean views may hold a little more sway in the property value arena, but the damage is just as significant along the bay. The editorial's "fast track" cannot be fast enough for bay-side residents.

|Anthony DiSipio, Long Beach Township

Weird science

The arrogance of the scientific community is amazing. The experts who constantly scream about man-made climate change are the same ones who warned us in the late 1970s that the next ice age was around the corner, and who fairly recently changed the name of the threat from "global warming" to "climate change."

The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, yet these experts swear that 2015 will set a record for global warmth. In the small print, you will see that their records go back a whopping 135 years. My calculator shows this to be 0.000003 percent of the life of this planet.

We should indeed stop polluting our planet as much as is fiscally possible, and the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to that end - more than the rest of the world combined. But I hope most people understand that these academics need millions of dollars to test all their important theories, such as the mating habits of the delta smelt, etc. Fear is a great opener of wallets. The louder they scream about impending doom, the more money they receive from governments around the world, whose wallets are yours and mine.

|Bob Craig, Jamison, minutemanbob@aol.com

Leaders must commit to drastic changes

With its participation in the U.N. climate change conference taking place in Paris, the United States is finally taking its first steps toward establishing meaningful worldwide climate change policy ("A new climate of optimism," Tuesday).

Unfortunately, it is still too early to celebrate: Even the most productive meeting in recent history, in 2012, would put the world on track for temperatures to rise an average of 4 degrees Celsius by 2100. To ensure that islands and coastlines aren't threatened by global warming, we need to double worldwide commitments and keep temperature increases under 2 degrees Celsius.

So it's not enough for the United States to simply attend the conference. We must push our leaders to make the sacrifices necessary for the future.

|Michael Kwok, Philadelphia, kwokm@sas.upenn.edu

It's time for a new way of life

As much as I honor our president, I wonder whether he and other world leaders gathered in Paris are prepared to seriously address the root of environmental devastation and climate change, namely human technical prowess, which has diminished our sensitivity to the delicate balance that sustains the web of life. It is delusional to expect improvement when our way of life is deemed more sacred than our Earth home.

Apparently federal officials do not see that hauling this year's outdoor Capitol Christmas Tree to Washington by truck all the way from Alaska is telling us to outdo ourselves in wasting precious resources and promoting the warming of our planet. Are there are no evergreens in Maryland or Virginia? Would it be against our values to have a tree planted on or near the White House lawn and redecorated each year?

Instead of conferences, we need a temperance movement, led by the example of our governing officials and social and spiritual leaders, to curb our insatiable, over-the-top appetites. When the Blue Angels pollute the skies with their aerial displays, our government is showing us yet another reason we need to keep on fracking.

|Lucille Balukian, Wayne

See the state of the planet for yourself

We can be more hopeful about addressing global climate change because the United States and other space-faring nations are making it possible to be better informed about the state of the world. NASA programs make it possible for us to observe key climate parameters and for scientists to inform us about Earth's systems.

As a NASA ambassador, I closely watch the planet's vital signs and tell local groups about NASA's contributions. You can easily be informed by visiting climate.nasa.gov. You can see rising temperatures and sea levels, melting ice caps and glaciers, and historically high levels of carbon dioxide.

You can observe these conditions without relying on selective dissemination of information by politicians and industrialists. Our tax dollars are enabling us to be better informed about these important signs of change to the only natural environment we have.

And be glad that the world's leaders have gathered in Paris and have such data and complex model projections to help them decide how to invest in a more secure future.

|John Conrad, West Goshen Township, j2conrad@verizon.net