To the Editor:
In a report on newjerseynewsroom.com in November 2011, it was found that global climate change may change the lifestyle of the people of New Jersey by the middle of the century. The report indicates that by the 2050’s Atlantic City and Long Beach Island will be threatened by rising tides at the current rate of how things are going. Along with month-long heat waves topping 100-degree weather in urban “heat islands” and crops unsuitable to grow in the hotter climate, the people of New Jersey are in for some rough times with risks to their health and businesses.
So what are the leaders of not only New Jersey but also our national government doing about this threat to the citizens of New Jersey? Two former governors spoke about this at a conference at Rutgers University, co-sponsored by the Public Service Enterprise Group and Clean Air, Cool Planet. The governors agree that change needs to be made and both made good points. Jim Florio, the 49th governor, talked about adopting solar power and wind power to support clean energy efforts. Tom Kean, the 48th, noted the lack of national support on the issue, stating that it is up to the public to force a change in the climate issue. He added that climate change has been linked to the increase in burning of fossil fuels for a long time and that recent research has confirmed the early reports of the danger.
More recently, on February 16, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry implored Indonesia to start making changes to combat climate change, stating that the nation’s resouces and economy will be in danger. The rising sea level could flood Jakarta, the capital, to the point where most of the city would be under water, and the warming of the seas along the coast could heavily impact the fishing industry.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say to you that your entire way of life that you live and love is at risk,” Kerry said in his speech to the island nation. He stated that Indonesia is the frontline of climate change, acting as a precursor as what is to come if the climate continues on this path. The warmer water and the increasing acidity in the water could impact the fish income by forty percent, and a mere three foot rise in sea level could put half of the capital underwater.
Indonesia is a major emitter of greenhouse gas, behind China and the United States; according to The Washington Post. The main source of these emissions is deforestation; however, the country’s growing population’s use of electricity from coal-fired power plants would increase emissions rapidly.
Climate change is not just an American problem, as Kerry noted, and it will negatively affect the entire globe in one way or another.
We are getting closer and closer to the point of no return, the point where a country will have to suffer major losses that will take decades to repair. There is still a little time before that and it seems that world leaders are starting to realize this. With parts of America now in danger, now is the time to start making changes. While we are not the leading example of climate change reforms, we are slowly working towards it and helping other countries realize the dangers to come.
-- Devin Hartmann