Letter: Racing through climate change
Racing through climate change
Congratulations to Mayors Steve Skadron and Aaron Huckstep for taking on the Power of Four and Elk Mountains Grand Traverse endurance races this season. What a perfect year for a political ski-town alliance to bring attention to climate change.
On the midwinter morning of the Power of Four, it is pouring in downtown Aspen. In Carbondale, 14 days in February were significantly above average temperature, with highs in the upper 40s for two solid weeks at the end of the month. The historic snowfall early in the month has nearly disappeared from the ground, with three weeks left before the official change of seasons.
We all know, of course, that climate is not weather, and that weather can be erratic irrespective of climatic changes. However, NASA scientist James Jansen describes a “climate dice” effect: The probabilities of a hot, average or cold month by historical standards are about equal, or a die with two red faces, two white, and two blue. But after decades of steady global warming, the probability of an above-average month, season or year is about four faces red (hotter than average), one white (average), and one blue (colder than average). As a teacher, I look at my elementary school students playing at recess and realize they have no concept of what the baseline climate of their own home region is. Then it dawns on me: Neither do I! The last colder-than-average month globally occurred in February 1985, a year before I was born.
So thank you to the mountain mayors for skiing through the rain Saturday to bring our attention to the wacky climate dice we are rolling. It is my hope that neither leaders nor residents will lose hope. There is much that we can do and have done already: move to renewable energy, increase efficiency, participate in the sharing economy and wake up to what truly makes us happy, so we don’t waste resources on what doesn’t. All those decisions will become more profitable when carbon is priced appropriately, to internalize some of its external costs.
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A local chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby is working on just that, in a push for federal carbon fee and dividend legislation. We hope Mayor Skadron, Mayor Huckstep and other local officials will lend their support as we work with Rep. Tipton and Sens. Udall and Bennet to pass a nonpartisan, revenue-neutral, free-market mechanism to price carbon in Congress.
Most importantly, our group is beginning to enjoy breakthroughs in our personal and political power, realizing that we can indeed build the world we want to see. To join us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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