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To the editor:

Here's a thing I don't understand about the promoters of the Inland Port. Don't they have some PR consultants or something? 1. Explain what the inland port is for. Who benefits how. 2. Be up front about its downsides, the additional traffic of obnoxiously noisy, lung-damaging acrid stench belching diesel trucks, for example, and how those downsides will be mitigated through, for example, electrifying the freight trucks. 3. Be upfront about its carbon emissions footprint and propose how it can be not just lowered in a bit of green washing, not just zeroed, but made negative starting yesterday.

A very important number we should keep in mind: Our CO2 emissions budget for even a chance at 1.5 degree temperature rise this century. The climate scientists I've asked put the number around 360 gigatons, which we are burning through like there's no tomorrow. You know those grandkids you're always bragging about? They are why it's important that we stay within our CO2 emissions budget.If it's such an important number, why do so few of us even think about it let alone have a clue what the number is?

Human psychology. We are social animals. We take our cues from each other on what's important. A typical person will hear about humanity's greenhouse gas emissions and realize that it's a serious concern but not an immediate concern. The human then employs cognitive dissonance to put that concern aside. Others take their social cues from that person and put the concern aside too. It's not so much denial of the problem as it is a coping mechanism by which humans prioritize their concerns and activities. Climate disruption gets put on the back burner every time because it is gradual. Until, that is, it's boiling over all over the place and making an awful mess.On the bright side, human psychology can also work in our favor.

When enough humans take a problem seriously, they send out social cues to others to take a problem seriously. Pretty soon, you have a society that takes a problem seriously.

Charles Ashurst


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