Letter: We need to take action on climate change | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: We need to take action on climate change

Because we are in a time when executive orders are dismantling and replacing scientific advisory climate committees with fossil fuel proponents, we need to take regional and local action on climate change.

Twenty or 30 years ago, we had time to make a gradual transition away from the fossil fuel economy to a sustainable, renewable energy society. Now, the climate science data tells us we have 10 years to make major changes in our lifestyle to protect our life support system, the Earth.

Unfortunately, the catastrophic events we are experiencing now, and for the next 10 years, can’t be prevented because the CO2 we put in the air many decades ago will last 100 years and the methane — 28 to 86 times more powerful than CO2 — will last for 15 years or more in the atmosphere. All we can do is adapt. But, if we act decisively now, we can reduce the frequency and severity of catastrophic events that will occur in future decades.

Since nothing is happening in the climate change discussion nationally, our city and county are in the process of organizing and developing a Climate Action Plan that may be completed by the end of this year. The public needs to participate, as they are part of the solution and will bear the burden  of the proposed actions. What are the challenges to our community to successfully achieve major changes in a short period of time?

• Who decides? Will there be broad-based community involvement or will the economic and political forces in our community have the most influence?

• Will the decisions be based on social and economic equity?

• Will compromises solve climate change problems or just defer action?

• Will we continue marketing for more second home owners, tourist and commercial growth?

• Will a holistic approach of living wage jobs, transportation efficiency and income targeted affordable housing be implemented to reduce our carbon footprint?

• Does our continuous marketing for the last 20 to 30 years make us responsible for our visitors’ carbon foot print on their trips to Routt County?

• How quickly will we implement energy efficiency and renewable energy for the energy intensive environment we live in?

• What are our main priorities in solving the climate change challenge? Growth, jobs, living wage, the bottom line, maintaining our present lifestyle or tourist-based economy?

• Will we change our lives now for a future that most of us will never live to see?  

John Spezia
Steamboat Springs

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