Last week, I wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times in response to an article about what climate change means for arctic communities. Today my letter was published. You can read my letter below or at www.nytimes.com/2005/10/25/opinion/l25arctic.html. You can also read the original Time’s article about the arctic here.
To the Editor:
“Old Ways of Life Are Fading as the Arctic Thaws” (“The Big Melt” series, front page, Oct. 20) highlights an important and unfair aspect of global warming.
The people who are emitting the most greenhouse gases — the people living in North America, Europe and Japan — are wealthy and live almost entirely between 30 degrees north and 60 degrees north. Yet the effects of climate change will be hardest felt elsewhere, either at the poles, as your article suggests, or in the tropics, where poorer countries will struggle to adapt to a changing climate.
This is deeply unfair, and I think that this is a feature of global warming that most Americans are unaware of. We have to cut our carbon dioxide emissions out of respect for the rest of the world.
Stanford, Calif., Oct. 20, 2005
The writer is a research assistant, department of global ecology, Carnegie Institution of Washington.