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Editorial

Why returning to the Paris accord is good for L.I.

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President-elect Joseph Biden recently committed to re-entering the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, which President Trump pulled the U.S. out of in June 2017. Re-joining the climate treaty, which 194 countries have agreed to — including every industrialized nation except the U.S. — will surely be good for Long Island.

Why? Because any effort that we make to limit CO2 and mitigate the global-warming crisis is good for the Island.

Leading scientists from the United Nations’ International Panel on Climate Change and other agencies around the world tell us that we have limited time — perhaps only a decade or two — to reverse the effects of the crisis before the Earth’s climate system suffers permanent damage. And, they tell us, we must make a concerted, collective effort to address climate change. That was the idea behind the Paris Agreement.

Among the many potential dangers of climate change are stronger hurricanes, and with Long Island jutting 118 miles into the Atlantic Ocean, we are particularly vulnerable to oceanic storms. We must not forget Superstorm Sandy.

Thankfully this hurricane season, we weren’t hit by a hurricane, but Tropical Storm Isaias, which began in the Caribbean as a Category 1 hurricane, did wreak havoc here in early August, downing trees and power lines, causing widespread outages for a week or more. There were so many hurricanes in the Atlantic this year that forecasters ran out of names — the last named storm was Wilfred, in late September — so they switched to letters of the Greek alphabet. 2020 was the seventh most costly hurricane season on record, with more than $40 billion in damage in the U.S.

Now, not later, is the time to address the climate crisis. We are pleased to see the president-elect taking it seriously, appointing former Secretary of State John Kerry, who signed the Paris Agreement for the U.S. five years ago, as his climate czar.