Regarding the Nov. 14 cover story, “Climate rift in the Rockies”: To help resolve opposing views on climate disruption, let’s ask, “Which would produce worse consequences – underestimating the threat, or overestimating?”
Underestimating continues the status quo, with the United States transitioning to carbon-free energy at its economically driven pace. Although that’s a comfortable strategy in the short run, it risks tipping the world into an unbearable state of climatic, economic, and geopolitical upheaval.
Overestimating the threat may cause unnecessary acceleration of the transition to carbon-free energy, bringing extreme discomfort to investors and workers in the fossil fuel industry, a problem that can be repaired.
We also could create a cleaner and healthier environment, cheaper energy in the long run, and, perhaps immediately, more jobs in clean energy than are lost in fossil fuels.
There would also be a more robust energy infrastructure and freedom from energy dependence on troubled regions of the world.
We also could check climate disruption before it becomes unbearable.
William H. Cutler
Union City, Calif.
The Nov. 7 cover story, “Memo to: the next president,” describes the conflicts that arise over defining the word “free” and points out the multiple failures of the US to be both fair and free.
In the same issue, the editorial “Why rule of law must rule the roost” quotes Thuli Madonsela, former public prosecutor in South Africa, who says, “Meaningful freedom is freedom from all corrupt practices in state affairs and private life.”
Instead of seeking an answer in geography, or the word “free,” perhaps the discussion should center around a definition of the word “meaningful” in “meaningful freedom,” which should be everywhere in the US, in a big city or a small town.
Anna Lisa Goldschen