In his recent letter to the Herald about climate change, North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer has key facts wrong, and unfortunately this leads to a faulty analysis of who is most to blame. Cramer is incorrect about who is doing the most to address the problem of climate change. Today, China leads the way developing new industries and technologies to move to green energy and a low-carbon world. European countries are not far behind. Most of the world’s countries have made commitments to solve the climate change problem, but the United States has not. We still rely on traditional sources of energy that are causing great harm and most of our energy innovations involve new ways to burn fossil fuels instead of looking at nonpolluting alternatives. This shortsightedness is harming our economy, costing us politically, and hurting people around the world.

Cramer accurately states that China leads the world in greenhouse gas emissions. What he fails to note is that China also is home to 20% of the world's population. On a person-by-person basis, the United States and Canada are by far the biggest contributors to climate change – much bigger contributors than China. We are the bad guys.

The perils of climate change have been well-known since the 1990s, but we in the United States continue with business as usual and have not significantly decreased our greenhouse gas emissions in 30 years. For our own good, and the good of everyone else in the world, we need to stop producing all or nearly all CO2 emissions. At the rate we are going it will take hundreds of years – which will be too late.

Scientists and engineers understand well the causes and perils of climate change. And they know many practical ways to address the problem. It would be good if politicians would take the advice of experts and not make bogus political arguments. There is much we can do that would have immediate and long-term beneficial effects.

Dexter Perkins, Dept. Geology and Geological Engineering, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks