Michael Segor: Climate change: the tipping point
Rob Chrisman is right about climate change not being one big single “existential threat” (“Five reasons it’s not a climate emergency” The Union, Dec. 13). It’s better understood as millions of smaller individual and community disasters, usually happening without warning, and getting worse as each year passes.
At the family and small business level, there will be countless existential threats to neighborhoods that once felt safe in 100-year and 500-year flood plains but don’t any more.
Existential threats are now emerging for local government budgets, when each new weather disaster arrives before farms, residences and infrastructure have recovered from the previous event. And there’s the threat to your home’s property value when insurance companies decide you live in a high-risk zone and coverage cannot be renewed. Health risks to outdoor workers in southern states will rise as summertime heat and humidity becomes literally life-threatening. Without action, our feeble efforts to cut emissions will soon be overwhelmed by the amount of carbon dioxide and methane being released by melting permafrost up north.
No one will ring a big bell when that tipping point is reached. But our grandchildren will know it happened on our generation’s watch.
San Luis Obispo
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