President Barack Obama's plan calls for a 30 percent decrease in domestic carbon emissions by 2030 ["Aim to cut pollution," News, June 2]. Will the rest of the world -- developed and developing nations -- be so awed by America's sacrifice that they will follow suit?
Nations look out for their self-interests and are more likely to sit on the sidelines than lend a hand. The only way to win this battle is to have all nations participate and sacrifice. This requires a consensus president. Sadly, Obama does not fit this bill, and any "leadership" generated by a go-it-alone strategy is pure folly.
Consensus is possible. Witness John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. In 1776, they managed to pull together a Declaration of Independence by obtaining the required support of all 13 colonies. If even one colony refused, independence would have died on the vine.
Real leadership cries out for consensus builders today, just as it did during that hot July summer almost twelve score years ago.
Kenneth E. Heard, Smithtown
The highest point on Long Island, Jayne's Hill, is about 400 feet above sea level. In the most extreme case, if all the ice on the planet melted, the sea would rise 220 feet.
Coastal regions on Long Island are not prepared for gradual sea-level rise. Long Beach received $13 million in state aid to shore up the coast from flooding with extra sand, and we cannot continue to rely on state aid.
People cannot continue to dismiss this problem.
Keith Lisy, East Northport
Coastline residents worry about the next storm as global warming continues. These residents also worry about the possibility that their homes could disappear from rising water in 50 years. Entire cities could no longer exist if global warming continues and the oceans rise.
At the same time, parts of the United States are suffering from severe drought.
Why not build giant lakes and pipe water in from the ocean? We could build desalination plants like Israel and supply water to millions of people.
Yes, it would be a massive undertaking, but it could solve many problems.
Barry Vineberg, Oceanside
Teen pregnancy rates down on Long Island
There's been a difference of opinion about why the teen pregnancy rate has fallen ["Annual rise in birthrate a reason for optimism," Editorial, June 2]. We believe that early sex education is essential.
A study published by the Guttmacher Institute found that teen pregnancy and birthrates are at historic lows. In fact, the teen birthrate has declined a whopping 51 percent in the United States since peaking in the early 1990s, and in 2010 reached its lowest level in more than 30 years.
On Long Island we are seeing incredible progress. Indeed, in Roosevelt, Hempstead and Westbury -- where Planned Parenthood, through the Department of Health's Comprehensive Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, provides evidenced-based sex education programs -- teen pregnancy rates have dropped dramatically: 58 percent, 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
The Guttmacher study confirms that comprehensive sex education helps young people delay sex and increases the use of contraception and condoms when they do become sexually active.
Unfortunately, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that more than 80 percent of teens ages 15 to 17 have had no formal sex education before having sex for the first time. Teen pregnancy needs to be part of an ongoing conversation.
Young people need access to accurate information and resources to make responsible decisions.
Editor's note: The writers are the director of education and training for Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, and vice president of public affairs and education for Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, respectively.
Positive experience with foster care
Please allow me to tell you about some unsung heroes who work among us: staff members of the foster care and adoption unit at the Nassau County Department of Social Services.
My husband and I went through foster care and adoption training, and soon we welcomed three tiny siblings into our home. Their problems from extreme neglect became our problems. However, training from the social services team kept us going. This is not just a job for this team, it is a vocation.
When another sibling group was in an emergency situation, we took in the children, and the social services team continued to drive them to their schools, which were far away.
This team is strict about monthly home visits, separate home checks and meetings at certain intervals. Staff members accompanied me to school meetings and asked to see our vacation pictures. The list goes on and on. This dedicated group of people quietly eases children into better lives, and it makes our community a much better place.
Patricia Flynn Schwarcz, Syosset