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November 3, 2012 at 8:00 AM

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Superstorm Sandy sparks climate-change debates

Cure the cause

After Katrina, then Irene and now Sandy, the citizens of the U.S. are getting a bitter taste of life to come in the era of climate change [“Talk of climate change surges after Sandy hits,” page one, Nov. 1].

With floodwaters receding and electricity being restored, it is time to act now to prepare for the next superstorm. For it is surely coming, along with another multibillion-dollar economic disruption and cleanup, not to mention the death toll.

Unfortunately, news media and politicians are talking about fortifying our coasts and power grids. Such civil-engineering projects would cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

Humans resisting the might of Mother Nature? Thatis folly. We will never, ever win. Those billions of dollars would be much better spent on massively reducing fossil-fuel burning. That means heating and lighting buildings without coal, oil or natural gas, something we already know how to do and just need to implement on a wide scale. That means transport without jet fuel, gasoline or diesel, which we all used to do as little as a century ago. That means clearing leaves with a rake instead of a leaf blower.

Instead of treating the symptom, we should cure the cause. We literally can't afford to do otherwise. We have met the enemy, and he is us. How many more storms will it take to get us to change?

– George Ostrow, Seattle

Vote based on climate change

Thank you for Erika Bolstad's fine article summarizing climate change's contribution to Sandy. The main lesson to take away from the terrible damage that superstorm Sandy (what climate scientists refer to as a hurricane on “steroids”) inflicted on the East Coast is that voters must vote this year based on climate change.

Vote for president based on which candidate will do more to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions, set higher auto-emissions standards, end oil and gas tax subsidies, promote clean energy, prevent the building of the Keystone XL pipeline and encourage further reductions in our use of fossil fuels.

Similarly, voters must refuse to send back to Congress any senator or representative who voted against the climate on any of the above issues.

– Judy Weiss, Brookline, Mass.

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