Steam emits from a crude oil refinery in Kochi, Kerala state, India, on Aug. 26, 2022. Credit: R S Iyer / AP

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Paul Thornton is right about hope and optimism regarding Earth’s future climate in his recent guest column in the Bangor Daily News. Hope and optimism is what every young person needs for their life going forward.

Here’s hope for the future, starting from my birth in 1944. Back then carbon dioxide concentrations were at 310 parts per million. We knew nothing about it, nor did I while growing up. Today, CO2 concentrations are nearly 420 ppm, and the warming is clear. Earth’s oceans have taken on 90 percent of the extra heat, producing weird weather: record-breaking storms, floods, droughts, heat waves and wildfires. The Arctic is warming fastest, resulting in a loopy jetstream, bringing arctic cold to Texas and days above freezing at the North Pole!

The Industrial Revolution has belched extra greenhouse gasses, CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, etc. Consider that its sum total constitutes our “legacy emissions.” Our hope for the future involves removing that legacy, returning Earth’s atmosphere to below 300 ppm CO2, bringing us back to the climate we experienced during the agricultural revolution.

Can it be done? Yes. It’s called “climate restoration.” Companies worldwide are involved in gearing up methods that together must be environmentally sound, permanently removing CO2 for at least 100 years, financially viable and together capable of removing 25 gigatons of CO2 per year.

That goal would get us to a restored climate by 2050. It will take government, financing, research and action, just like JFK’s “moonshot” did in the 1960s. Let’s get it done!

Peter Garrett