Free trade beneficial

EDITOR: Free trade has brought decades of peace between our neighbors to the North and South, and to our allies in Europe. It has created new job opportunities in the USA, and provided less expensive products to our own people. The idea of punishing countries for unquantifiable imbalances in trade will primarily bring resentment in our alliances, cause selective loss of industry in this country, and cause the average citizen to pay more for the same goods we enjoyed before tariffs are imposed.

Republicans have been generally united in favor of free trade, as have Democrats and Independents, one of the key unifying principles that has promoted stability and fostered positive relationships around the planet. It has also led to the expansion of jobs in this country, giving access to markets around the globe that U.S. companies can participate in. It's difficult to follow the reasoning of those who would constrain that trade, and most economists are opposed to the imposition of tariffs on our global trading partners.

I suggest that we support the WTO and back NAFTA, which bring benefit of our own people, ensuring manufacturing jobs and sales. If we need to work with the WTO or make changes to NAFTA we should do so in good faith and using the tools available to us, and not by turning our back on or isolating ourselves from global trade.

Phil Zampino, Wilmington

Church parking woes

EDITOR: Why can a church offer "donation" parking for 70 spaces, which generates 500 cars coming by our homes on West Fayetteville Street, disrupting our lives and safety? Churches do not pay taxes on properties they own, which is fine, however, we who live at the beach pay enormous taxes in order to provide for cleanup and especially lifeguards, who have been saving a minimum of 10 lives a weekend. Something must be done.

The beach should be shared, however, it must be known that we cannot provide spaces for parking to the huge crowds of people who want to visit the beach.

We have limited space. A Solomon solution must be found to alleviate this problem. Thoughts?

Dorothy Pastis, Wrightsville Beach

Cal’s hot air

EDITOR: I read with incredulity the article by Cal Thomas on July 1 ("The hot air of global warming"). I can only wonder where Mr. Thomas gets his facts because they are surely not from any scientific publication. He quotes from an article in 2015 by Christopher Booker who the best I can tell is like Mr. Thomas a writer. The facts are pretty clear.

Huge sections of the Great Barrier Reef were recently found to be dead, killed by overheated seawater according to Terry P. Hughes Director of Coral Reef Studies at the James Cook University in Australia.

2017 was among the hottest years ever recorded. It was the second-hottest in recorded history according to NASA. And according to NOAA the hottest eight years from 1880 until 2017 have all happened since 2005. Where do you think 2018 will rank?

Sea ice in the Arctic has its lowest maximum extent this year and joins 2015, 2016, and 2017 as the four lowest maximum extents in recorded to history, according to the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

And in its Fifth Assessment Report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of 1,300 independent scientific experts from countries all over the world under the auspices of the United Nations, concluded there's a more than 95 percent probability that human activities over the past 50 years have warmed our planet.

The industrial activities that our modern civilization depends upon have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels from 280 parts per million to 400 parts per million in the last 150 years. The panel also concluded there's a better than 95 percent probability that human-produced greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have caused much of the observed increase in Earth's temperatures over the past 50 years.

This is what the scientists who study the planet have to say about global warming. My opinion is this. How is possible that the activities of 7 billion people on this planet can have no effect? Perhaps Mr. Thomas should do a little reading along with his writing.

Larry Ellis, Shallotte