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Letter: UN sounds alarm on climate change

An architectural light show entitled illUmiNations: Protecting Our

An architectural light show entitled illUmiNations: Protecting Our Planet, designed to inspire action on climate change, is projected on the side of United Nations headquarters Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. More than 120 world leaders convene Tuesday for a U.N. summit aimed at galvanizing political will for a new global climate treaty by the end of 2015. Credit: AP

"UN climate report warning" [News, Nov. 3] was shamefully buried on Page A41. It said, "limiting impacts may require reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero this century."

That pronouncement doesn't sound as scary as the rest of the report. UN scientists clearly state that fuel emissions must be reduced by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, with serious mitigation efforts underway by 2030 to have a "likely" chance of holding warming to 2 degrees Celsius, a level at which scientists believe human societies can still adapt. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rightly says, "Science has spoken . . . . Time is not on our side."

While international talks are unlikely to achieve what is required, a publicly rebated U.S. carbon tax with a border adjustment on nonparticipating countries would ensure worldwide carbon pricing, accelerate investment in cheaper, cleaner energy and grow our economy. Science has indeed spoken. Now we must act.

Jeanne Brunson, South Setauket

Editor's note: The writer is a volunteer with the Climate Reality Project, which advocates for action on global warming.

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