John McClaughry had a point in his recent op-ed (“Can’t be done,” Nov. 30-Dec. 2). It will, indeed, be exceedingly difficult, perhaps even impossible, for the world to reduce carbon emissions to net zero anytime soon — even by 2050.

Of course, it would have been something of a challenge to essentially eliminate net carbon emissions in time to preserve a stable climate even if we had begun a serious effort on the first Earth Day in 1970. But it would have been eminently doable.

Why didn’t we, you may ask? Largely because McClaughry, and others like him, have been sarcastically dismissing the threat of global climate disruption in the intervening decades, creating enough confusion to prevent action. Now responsible and competent scientists agree we have a crisis.

To adapt the sage advice of the late Sen. George D. Aiken during the Vietnam War, it is time for McClaughry to declare victory and go home. After all, as he so clearly explained in his op-ed, he and his allies have almost certainly won.

Richard Andrews


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