I am responding to the June 30 letter to the editor, “Green New Deal a grab for power,” that finds climate change to be a left wing conspiracy theory. The letter laments the plan of action known as the Green New Deal which looks to create new jobs in the renewable energy sector and decommission coal plants. Decommissioning of our coal plants has been happening already due to economic realities by the way. The actions by China, India and other countries in building new coal plants is presented as evidence that it is unnecessary and unwise for the United States to take this action to address climate change. Following someone else’s bad example is not my idea of leadership. I looked at easily researched data for carbon emissions. At present the United States is number two after China, but historically, since we have been an industrial power for more than a century and CO2 stays in the atmosphere for a long time, between 1850 – 2007, in the industrial age, the U.S is way on top with 339.174 metric tons to China’s 105,915 metric tons. There are a number of ways to measure who has the most carbon in their footprint, such as per capita, which changes the map. You could also look at consumption, where the things that are made with that energy are bought and used. The U.S is way ahead of new industrial powers of China and India in that reckoning.

In Portland last week the infrastructure was delaminated, roads buckled and power cables melted in its 116 degree heat. Portland is not in the traditionally hot and dry Southwest, but the usually temperate Northwest. The changes to the climate are in motion and observable. Trying to take a position of blaming someone else is not a viable way to face the future we have created. If you want to have “America is the greatest nation on Earth” as your identity, then perhaps accepting a leadership role would be a good approach to show China, India and the world that we can act in the interest of the long term future. Developing sources of power besides coal will create new jobs and help local economies. We could also become less materialistic and preserve our world because we love it and want to build a future that is stable for our children and their children.

—Miriam Marcus,