In response to Matt Werner's letter challenging my earlier letter: I take issue with some of his points. First, Werner is correct that if Colorado Springs is the only city across the world to work to reduce carbon emissions, our impact will be negligible. I could provide an extensive list of what is being done across the world and in different states. I suggest that Mr. Werner read Denver's 80x50 Climate Action Plan, the Fort Collins plan, the State of Colorado January 2018 plan, Climate Change in Boulder County, and the Pitkin County Climate Action Plan. Not only are actions specified to reduce carbon emissions, but actions are identified to detect and try to mitigate harmful effects of climate change in some plans.
Second, Mr. Werner seems to assume that I, or anyone else concerned about climate change, is unconcerned about cost or effectiveness. On the contrary, effective planning requires clear measurable goals, evidence-based solutions to address problems, cost analyses and ways to track and address unintended consequences, knowledge of who benefits and who pays, mitigation strategies to address the negative impacts to the greatest extent practical, and careful monitoring of the implementation.
Third, at best, future generations will benefit from having adequate clean, safe water, good air quality, avoiding increasing severe weather events and increasing average summer temperatures, limiting the destruction of forests because of pests, or limiting emerging vector-borne diseases. If we become innovative and brave enough, perhaps through partnerships with UCCS and Pikes Peak Community College, new technologies that can be used to help people in the third world as well as the first world may be developed.
Fourth, as to how much climate change is coming, I must rely on reports like the Fourth National Climate Change Assessment, the January 2019 report, "Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense" (impact on Colorado Springs bases shown), and the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. Reviewing the literature and evidence-based solutions to address specific problems is essential.
Implementing a Colorado Springs plan to monitor, detect and be prepared for negative impacts of climate change is needed. Limiting the most severe effects can only happen if carbon emissions are reduced.
— Mary J. Talbott
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