Georgians getting press
Whether online or in old-fashioned print, the editorial page is one of the most popular sections of a newspaper.
When you get a letter to the editor (LTE) published in your local newspaper, you let residents, business leaders and Congressional representatives know what’s on your mind. Legislators monitor LTE’s to keep aware of their constituents’ concerns.
Your letter can even generate additional press about the topic you write about, so let local papers know you want action on climate change—and why.
Write to the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC)
Email your LTE to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters should be 150 words maximum. Please include:
- Your first and last names (no initials, please)
- For verification purposes only—your home address and both your daytime and nighttime telephone numbers
- Optional—A dab of bio information, namely, what you do for a living
Before the AJC runs a letter, they call or email to verify that you sent it.
Write to the Marietta Daily Journal
Email your LTE to email@example.com. Letters should be 400 words maximum. Please include:
- Your name, address and daytime telephone number for verification purposes
The Marietta Daily Journal encourages letters to the editor on topics of general interest, but reserves the right to edit them for content and length.
If you’re a Georgia resident and you have a climate-related LTE published in a local paper, give us a shout on Facebook. We may add your letter to the ones below.
Jeff Joslin, Brookhaven
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 1/8/2018
Headlines proclaim snow on Georgia’s coast. Bitter cold strikes the remainder of the state. Climate scientists say it’s related to climate change. While we’re told warming is the most obvious sign, climate change throws curves like polar weather slipping south and record precipitation like snowfalls. The science is about long-term trends, which are unmistakably changing weather patterns causing famines, increased human migration and rising seas that threaten coastal infrastructure. So when a relative or friend says “It’s cold, what happened to global warming?” maybe it’s time to dig into the science together. Better yet, discuss hopeful solutions like putting a price on carbon pollution. Continue by demanding climate solutions from our elected leaders. Ask your congressman to join the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. A call or letter to them is a gift to future generations.
Jeff Shade, Atlanta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 1/7/2018
If a picture is worth 1,000 words, I have my work cut out for me responding to Michael Ramirez’s opinion cartoon from Jan. 2. But here it goes. In his cartoon, Ramirez joins a chorus of pundits who see the cold snap in the U.S. as evidence against global warming – but this is seriously flawed logic. What Ramirez ignores is that global warming has two words: “warming,” sure, but also “global.” So, yes, it is cold in our little corner of the planet at this moment, but everywhere else is warmer than average. Furthermore, climatologists expect extreme cold snaps in certain areas as the Arctic warms and disrupts the jet stream.
The more subtle problem with the cartoon is that it assumes political pundits should comment on atmospheric chemistry. To the contrary, science should come from scientists, and how we respond to that science is the true political issue.
Henry Slack, Decatur
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 12/17/2017
What a year we’ve had! Weather took out 80 percent of Georgia’s peach and blueberry crops, Harvey drowned Houston, and Irma walloped Florida and sent the winds to us. And wildfires burned California for the second time, thanks to drought-stricken plants.
Why? Climate change is here, folks! As long as we don’t change our burning of fossil fuels, our weather will give us more and more extreme events, also known as “global weirding.”
Good news is that 62 Congressmen, half Republicans and half Democrats, agree that it’s a problem. (Too bad none are from Georgia.) A steadily rising fee on carbon emissions would use the free market to cut greenhouse gases. If it’s all returned evenly to all households, everyone can afford the energy. We will create more jobs in Georgia if we capture sunshine instead of sending our money out-of-state for coal and oil.
Bob James, Atlanta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 11/22/2017
The AJC article “Hurricane sparks debate over leaving island,” News, Nov. 10, is about the fact that “more than 140,000 Puerto Ricans have left for mainland.” The article cites increased exits because of the severe impact on the island resulting in very difficult recovery efforts.
Climate scientists warn us migration inland will result from more severe storms as well as sea-level rise.
As an advocate for taking climate change action, I think the article should have included the fact that climate migration is at least partly to blame.
We, as citizens, should hear the real facts that more of this is happening and then call our representatives: tell them to take on the responsibility of tackling climate change caused by too many greenhouse emissions dirtying our blue skies. Ask them to join the bipartisan climate solution caucus to find remedies.
David Greenland, Sandy Springs
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 9/14/2017
Of all the adjectives used about the Harvey and Irma, “unprecedented” seems to me to be the most appropriate. Climate scientists have been warning about unprecedented storms for a long time. Deniers say this is the wrong time to bring up the climate issue. To the contrary, there is no better time if we are to plan a better future….We are absolutely certain that increasing levels of greenhouse gasses warm the atmosphere and ocean and increase the odds of extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall, storm surges and heat waves. Our elected representatives …should forsake the funds showered on them by the fossil fuel companies and establish a climate fee and dividend program which would benefit everyone. Failure to do this will make “unprecedented” the new normal.
Bob James, Atlanta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 9/1/2017
In the AJC article, “The relationship between hurricanes and climate change,” News, Aug. 27, it is reported that the impact of climate change on hurricanes is not precise but it does affect them.
I am perturbed Congress has not yet passed legislation that would reduce fossil fuel dependence. It is 2017! We need action by Congress now. Ask them to support a bipartisan carbon pricing proposal with the fee returned to households. It will expedite the exit from a dirty to a clean-powered economy while providing support for low-income households and cost projections big businesses need to retool/ invent a sustainable future. If we do not reduce greenhouse emissions, our beautiful and talented kids will witness increasingly threatening weather events.
Emily Hirn, Atlanta
Marietta Daily Journal, 8/31/2017
DEAR EDITOR: The recent eclipse offered a brief disruption of the natural order, courtesy of nature.
Climate change meddles with the same forces of nature, courtesy of the human population.
The eclipse was pure magic. The sun’s rays throttled down in volume, the air slightly chilled, room interiors went very dark. Everything was the same, but the light was different. And then it all went back to normal.
The rising and the setting of the sun, the waxing and the waning of the moon, all is so predictable and reliable. Just for an hour during this eclipse, we had a friendly reminder of the powerful natural forces that sustain our environment and what it would be like if the reliable became unpredictable.
Reverence for nature, recognition of its beauty and importance to our survival, are reason enough to prioritize protecting the environment. Making our energy sources sustainable and putting a price on carbon emissions would be a good start.
David Hudson, Marietta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 8/24/2017
Cracks in the political divide over climate change are showing. On Monday night at his Kennesaw State town hall event, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson revealed the kind of common ground with climate change activists that is critical for progress on this most important issue. As one who believes that action is needed now to reduce the burning of fossil fuels to slow global warming, I was heartened to read that the senator is “a full believer that carbon contributes to carbon change” and that he acknowledged that reducing carbon emissions would improve people’s health. Reducing carbon does not require that we all agree on its source. We need only agree that reducing atmospheric carbon will slow global warming. So much the better if we can improve health, add jobs, and grow GDP by investing and developing new technologies and power sources. The way to that agreement is through finding common ground.
Dirk Van Der Grinten, Chamblee
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 8/17/2017
It is troubling news to read July 31 that excessive use of nitrogen-based fertilizer and increased rainfall due to global warming, is leading to larger than normal algae blooms in our ocean waters, “Warming to worsen dead zones, algae blooms choking U.S. waters.”
The fertilizer runoff has created dead zones at places like the mouth of the Mississippi River the size of Vermont; these are expected to increase by 20 percent in years to come.
The fertilizer causes phytoplankton (microscopic algae) to grow rapidly, which then die off. This results in the consumption of dissolved oxygen in the water, killing fish for thousands of square miles. Managing fertilizer use efficiently can ensure abundant crop growth while reducing contaminated runoff from heavier rains associated with climate change.
Perhaps Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue could support farmers in the usage of sustainable practices. Our environment is worth the effort.
Steve Valk, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Atlanta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 8/7/201
It was great to read that Tesla’s Model 3 is now rolling off the assembly line, bringing affordable electric vehicles to the public. Reducing the number of cars powered by gasoline will reduce the pollution responsible for health problems that plague so many of our citizens, particularly children.
The transition to electric vehicles will also reduce the risk of climate change by eliminating much of the carbon dioxide emissions that are warming our planet. We can speed that transition by placing a fee on fossil fuels, thereby providing the incentive for consumers to purchase more EVs. If we return the revenue from that fee to households, we can make this transition with no economic fallout.
This revenue-neutral approach to carbon pricing is finding support among conservatives and businesses, including major oil companies like Shell, whose CEO recently said that his next car will be electric. That’s like the CEO of Outback Steakhouse announcing that she’s becoming a vegan.
John Shackleton, Atlanta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 7/21/2017
We look to leaders to move us forward positively. Moral leaders take us toward what is right and good. We currently lack that type of leadership. The United States has backed out of the Paris Accord on climate change. Not only have we surrendered what makes sense for our country, we have failed to live up to our moral leadership in the world. Instead of moving toward solar (projected to be the least expensive electricity by 2030), wind or other sustainable energy, our leadership hopes to take us back to an earlier time when coal was king. It is a bad decision for our country and the world in general. Since China is making great strides in meeting their Paris obligations, it — along with other nations — have been handed the baton for both industrial and moral leadership by our abdication of it. We seem to be in ignominious retreat.
Jeff Joslin, Chair, North Atlanta Chapter Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Marietta Daily Journal, 4/14/2017
DEAR EDITOR: Georgians, especially our children, face a rapidly growing risk due to human-caused climate change. President Donald Trump has now signed an executive order reversing progress on climate.
His EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is dismantling the clean power plan, designed to reduce climate-warming pollution. These actions are taken despite energy economists saying that alternative energy jobs are multiplying, clean energy prices have become competitive and many of the “dirty fuel” jobs will likely never return to past levels.
The current, direct toll on Georgia is growing.
Yet our Congressional representatives ignore public opinion on climate. In Georgia’s 6th, 11th, 13th and 14th Congressional Districts (north metro Atlanta and surrounding Marietta) 70 percent or more of voters support regulating CO2, the major greenhouse gas contributing to climate change (Yale Climate Opinion 2016). Congressmen in these districts either deny the problem or have no public position. They certainly aren’t taking much-needed action. Rep.
Barry Loudermilk, a member of Science, Space, and Technology Committee, entertains climate deniers at House science hearings. Most of the 6th District’ s Special Election Candidates are silent on climate.
UGA climatologists point to Georgia’s greatest risks; our health, farmers and our coast. Smog and wildfire smoke increasingly put the elderly , children and those with respiratory problems at greater risk.
Extreme heat and drought has destroyed crops. Some north Georgia farmers lost their entire crops in 2016.
On the coast, the continual flooding of the road to Tybee Island is a visual indicator of the catastrophic damage sea level rise will eventually wreak on Georgia’s coastal communities.
There are implementable climate solutions and reason for hope. Putting a fee on carbon is the fastest, least painful way to stabilize our climate.
Greenhouse gases should be priced to offset their harm to society. Prominent Reagan Administration Conservatives including former Chief of Staff, James Baker, Secretary of State George Shultz and Treasury Secretary, Henry Paulson have proposed such a carbon pricing plan. The House of Representatives bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus (17 Republicans and 17 Democrats) will push for action on climate change in the coming year . It’s time for the Georgia Congressional delegation to end the denial and join them to represent the wishes of most Georgians. Electing a climate-friendly congressman in the 6th District’s special election would send them a message. It’ s time for real leadership.
Emily Hirn, Atlanta
Marietta Daily Journal, 4/5/2017
DEAR EDITOR: It is truly sickening to watch the beauty and glory of nature unfold in front of our eyes this season in Atlanta and know that the President has signed an executive order to undermine the environment by lowering regulations on polluters.
While nature’s nourishing of the soul and contributing to beauty are hard to put a price on, economics does matter. This misguided action does nothing to bring back jobs because fossil fuels are already being replaced by newly cheaper sustainable energy sources such as solar and wind. Plans that put a fee on carbon emissions and return the fee to US households do more to promote the business opportunities inherent in the booming sustainable energy market.
Fulfilling our commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement actually will make our country energy independent. Selling out the environment for a short term profit to benefit a wealthy few, does not.
Katherine Mitchell, Atlanta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 3/26/2017
That the Trump administration would consider reductions in the EPA’s budget is unconscionable, as it is not honoring our word on the Paris Climate Accords. All of us will bear the brunt of these actions. We must reduce carbon emissions before it is too late. A simple way to accomplish this is to put a fee on carbon emissions as close to the source as possible and to distribute a dividend equitably to all households. The signs are clear that this is necessary for our health and well-being. I urge everyone to contact their senators and representatives through letters, emails, and calls pleading for action on global warming, which is very real. Want to do more? Plant trees, which improve air quality while reducing ambient temperature. We can also walk, bicycle, and take MARTA. We can reduce our use of big energy users like dryers, excessive lighting, etc. We can make a difference.
David Greenland, Sandy Springs
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 3/14/2017
If the U.S. were to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, it would do extreme damage to our country’s international reputation (“Trump advisers split …,” News, March 3). Our country forever would be known for breaking its word. As the second-highest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, such action would be the height of irresponsibility. At a time when, by figures released by conservatives last month, …67 percent of Americans support a carbon tax with proceeds returned directly to them, including 54 percent of conservative Republicans, why would the White House want to go against the will of the people? If the Bannon wish for an Accord pullout were to prevail, he and his fellow dirty-fuel advocates will be judged harshly by history. But as one scientist has said, by then it will be too late.
David R. Hudson, Marietta
Marietta Daily Journal, 2/28/2017
DEAR EDITOR: There is new, exciting movement on the climate action front. Last week the Climate Leadership Council, led by centrist Ted Halstead, announced in the New York Times and the Washington Post its conservative case for carbon dividends.
The Council includes a Who’s Who of the Old Guard, luminaries of previous Republican administrations, the much-decorated Jim Baker and George Schultz, secretaries of both State and Treasury; Henry Paulson, a Secretary of the Treasury; Martin Feldstein and Greg Mankiw, Chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisors; former Wal-Mart chairman Rob Walton; and venture capitalist Thomas Stephenson.
With the power of Democrats at a low ebb and the presidency lost to Republicans, it was obvious to Halstead and the council that a solution to the issue of climate change had to come from the conservative end of the political spectrum. Their genius was in seizing the moment and offering a bold, simple market-based proposal to lower CO2 levels that might appeal to the entire political spectrum.
It’s an elegantly simple, revenue-neutral plan that will appeal to fiscal conservatives: place a fee on carbon at the source — well, mine, port; create border adjustments that tax imports from countries that do not similarly price carbon (encouraging them to do so); and return the carbon fee to the American people in the form of a regular quarterly dividend administered by the Social Security Administration.
Analysis by respected economists and scientists supports the CLC’s claims that the plan would lower greenhouse gasses by 2025 nearly twice as far as Obama’s regulatory efforts, to Paris Accords target levels; that it would increase American jobs; that it would improve the finances of 70 percent of the American populace, and that it would allow the rollback of current emission regulations, a plus for conservatives.
Halstead and the Republican luminaries on the council are right: climate change action is in their court. It is incumbent on all of us — conservatives and liberals, climate activists and skeptics — to take a close look at this plan (find it at clcouncil.org) and get behind it.
The April 18 election to replace Congressman Tom Price in Georgia’s 6th District is an ideal opportunity for Georgians to let Congress know that climate action is important to them. How? By learning the positions of all the candidates and voting only for candidates that support strong action on climate.
Jeff Joslin, Atlanta
Marietta Daily Journal, 2/15/2017
DEAR EDITOR: Rep. Barry Loudermilk has cosponsored a bill to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency. This is a horrible idea that threatens America’s safety. The EPA was established by Republican President Richard Nixon in 1971 to protect Americans from dangerous pollutants. The EPA establishes safe toxin levels, monitors hazardous discharges and ensures they are cleaned up when found. It sets and enforces common safety rules throughout the United States. If this responsibility were left up to the states, how do we ensure Alabama’s smokestacks and waste discharges don’t threaten our air and water? In Georgia, more than 16 superfund sites have been found and managed by the EPA. The EPA plays a critical role in the safety of everywhere we work and play. I am an airline captain. Can you imagine ending the FAA’s issuance of pilot licensing and medical standards and turning them over to states. Or what if aircraft safety inspections were conducted by countries we fly to? Pretty preposterous isn’t it? Rep. Loudermilk’s zeal to eliminate government erases our environmental safety instead. We must speak out to ensure we have good leaders to improve, not remove our government.
David R. Hudson, Marietta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 1/31/2017
I was pleased to read that Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s nominee for EPA Administrator, now believes that climate change is real. But I remain concerned about his fitness to head the EPA.
There is no real debate within the scientific community about climate change and the role that human activity plays in it. The skepticism/denials of a handful of scientists is vastly outweighed by the peer-reviewed research and consensus of tens of thousands of climate scientists.
Pruitt’s record as Attorney General of Oklahoma shows little evidence of his interest in protecting the environment—and much to the contrary. His relationship to the EPA has been one of adversary and litigant. Nothing Pruitt has said or done convinces me that he has more interest in protecting the environment than greasing the skids for industry. He’d be a fox in the hen house.
Jeff Joslin, Atlanta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 11/27/2016
Drought. A new normal as the climate changes. Water restrictions. An inconvenience, but with manageable solutions. Looking beyond Georgia’s water headlines, one can view much more serious water problems worldwide. Drought preceded conflict in Syria which led to war and the refugee crisis. Drought in Africa, which is not easily managed, lead to migrations, death and misery. Military leaders call climate change a threat multiplier. In Georgia, crops and drinking water are threatened. Throughout the world, war, famine and migration threaten civic stability with grave consequences. Will President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican majorities in Congress respond to this threat? Putting a price on the harmful carbon pollution that underlies our water shortages would, over time, reverse these changes. And market forces would bolster cleaner energy, efficiency and grow jobs and the economy in the process. A clean, healthy environment can be had with minimal regulation and is a win-win for Georgians and our world.
Emily Hirn, Atlanta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 11/8/2016
Lost in the swirl of drama around the presidential election, a trifecta of global climate agreements came into being this past month.
It got little attention but deserves more. The Paris Climate Agreement (195 countries, signed in December but entering into legal force this October), the Kigali accord limiting the ultra-potent greenhouse gas chemical coolants called HFC’s (170 countries) and a deal to curb planet warming emissions from the aviation industry (190 countries).
All three agreements are examples of thinking for the long-term and global cooperation. They are comprehensive national policy solutions. They can make a real difference. This trifecta should be seen as hope that human society can foul the planet but may also be capable of redemption, albeit with no time to spare.
Katherine Mitchell, Atlanta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 10/30/2016
With the elections fast upon us, I urge readers to vote yes for a small increase in sales tax to give MARTA the support it deserves. I ride MARTA frequently, but even if one chooses not to ride MARTA, we will all benefit from improved air quality and less traffic congestion. Many people must rely on MARTA to get to work, doctor appointments, etc. For them, MARTA is most important. But all of the Atlanta area benefits when citizens are able to get to employment. Many of us who prefer to take MARTA find it so much easier and less expensive than driving and parking. We must reduce carbon pollution as quickly as possible — for our personal health and the health of the planet. We need legislation for a carbon fee with dividend, but we can reduce our carbon footprint right now by using MARTA.
David Greenland, Sandy Springs
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 10/30/2016
Jay Bookman points out how climate change concerns have been ignored in this year’s campaigns (“The Crisis,” Opinion, Oct. 23). He is correct that the issue is the most important one for our children and grandchildren. Granted, there are many potential, important issues to be discussed but few are of such importance to our grandchildren as that of climate change. It is very unfortunate that many politicians focus on short-term needs rather than the potential future catastrophe. More unfortunate is the huge procrastination penalty with the climate issue. The longer we wait to do something, the exponentially greater the cost will be. We can’t just “turn off ” climate change. Although I will not, the additional greenhouse gasses we put into the atmosphere will be around for hundreds of years. So, sorry grandchildren, some of us tried to do something, but most of us just didn’t care about you.
Jeff Joslin, North Atlanta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 9/20/2016
DEAR EDITOR: Despite what one might think about Leonardo DiCaprio, his National Geographic Special — “Before the Flood” — serves a very important function: raising awareness during a crucial time, our presidential election. It is a real tragedy that one of the greatest challenges to mankind gets almost no mention as we pick who will lead the country for the next four years.
As UGA climatologists have reported, Georgia is not immune to climate chaos. We are already experiencing record coastal floods, temperatures that threaten safety and cropharming drought. It will only get worse.
We can slow climate change by placing a steadily rising price on carbon emissions while returning this fee to all Americans on a per capita basis. This is a market based approach that spurs growth, development and jobs while making significant reductions in greenhouse gas pollutants.
As you watch this special Oct. 31, think about your children and grandchildren. Their futures will be adversely affected by climate, whether it’s because of local drought, alarming world migration or national security risks cause by worldwide unrest from rising tides and food shortages.
As this election approaches, find out what each candidate, presidential and congressional, plan to do about about climate change. Politicians can take decisive action, protecting our future with smart growth that enhances our living today.
David Greenland, Sandy Springs
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 9/12/2016
Thank you for your article “Atlanta endures its second-hottest summer ever,” News, Sept. 3. We must remember the temperature records you report are observed in the shade so if we are outdoors in direct sunlight, we can experience much higher temperatures. One of many implications of this news is that we may see an increase in loss of lives, especially those of elderly people. The Europe heat wave of August 2003 killed 70,000 people. In the United States, more than 600 people die every year due to extreme heat, according to the CDC. In the 1995 Chicago heat wave, almost 700 people lost their lives. In Atlanta, football practice, tennis, golf and other outdoor sports activities could prove fatal. Construction, highway, agricultural, landscape and other outdoor workers will be at risk. So it is imperative, among other actions, that we quickly establish a national carbon fee and dividend program.
Terry Schiff, Alpharetta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 8/16/2016
The AJC has published a number of stories about the outbreak of Zika in South Florida. What has been lacking is the detailed climate data that directly links the increasing number of “mosquito days” in Atlanta to the changes in our global climate.
A “mosquito day” is a day when the temperatures are between 50 and 95 degrees F and relative humidity is greater than 42 percent. This is the perfect environment for the Asian Tiger Mosquito which is one of the known carriers of the Zika virus.
The average number of mosquito days in Atlanta has risen from 140 days per year during the period from 1980 to 1989, to 157 mosquito days per year in the period since 2006. This is based on data from the National Institutes of Health.
Rising temperatures mean rising mosquito populations, mean higher risk of Zika in Georgia. This is the type of information Georgia voters need to make up their minds about the need to counteract global warming.
Jeff Joslin, Atlanta
Atlanta Journal Constitution, 8/5/2016
The U.S. Navy predicts Georgia’s nuclear sub base will flood as much as 170 times per year within 30 years. Think of the explosive costs of flooding bases around the country. Add to that the cost of a flooding Savannah port, a vital component of Georgia’s economy. Now add in the loss of tourism and damage to private property and businesses. The threat is staggering. Congress can prevent this by putting a price on greenhouse gases, which can also create jobs, grow the economy and help us transition to a cleaner, healthier world. This transition may be a challenge but it’s doable if we insist Congress takes action. Future generations of Georgians are counting on us.
Our leaders in Congress are in the best position to slow climate change. Know where your candidate stands on climate change—and vote climate!