I heartily applaud your excellent article on climate change and agriculture [“The heat is on,” March 6] showing how deeply we are all sharing what NASA climatologist James Hansen recently declared a “planetary emergency.”

If humanity doesn’t begin cutting global emissions by around 2015, the climate crisis will pass a point of no returnand a hellish condition for us all. The food and water challenges and extreme weather you cited will be compounded by economic and social chaos as climate disasters increasingly rob from public coffers and pit people against one other.

North Carolina has a unique duty to help avert runaway climate disruption, because the world’s second-largest power company is based in Charlotte. The sheer size of Duke Energy means that its transition to clean energy could be a climate game-changer.

NC WARN [Waste Awareness and Reduction Network] and allies are pressing Duke to phase out fossil-fueled electricity by ramping up energy-saving programs and renewable power, which are far cheaper than the nuclear plants Duke hopes to build. In fact, Duke is already investing very heavily in solar and windout West. In the monopoly-controlled Southeast, Duke is impeding clean energy advances so it can keep burning coal and gas while trying to build new nukes.

Tragically, our society has been very slow to respond to the climate crisis. Indeed, the acceleration of bizarre weather and rising storm surges can feel paralyzing. And our government is surely failing its duty.

But NC WARN and allies have a strong chance of persuading Duke Energy to join the clean energy revolution. North Carolina must rise to this extraordinary moral challenge.

Jim Warren, Durham

The writer is executive director of NC WARN.