The Trump administration released the National Climate Assessment on Friday, which illustrates how our planet is already showing symptoms of climate change ("Feds issue dire climate alarm," Nov. 24). Levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are the highest in millions of years, sea levels have already risen 7 to 8 inches with sea temperatures reaching record levels each year … the list of impacts goes on.
With these changes, nurses like me are seeing disease, injury and illness in the communities we care for. Children, adults and the elderly are experiencing increased episodes of asthma and chronic respiratory illnesses related to extreme weather, breathing difficulties from poor air quality on extreme heat days, premature deaths related to air pollution and increased exposure to infectious diseases such as Lyme disease.
Fortunately, we can take action on climate change. Experts agree we must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases driving climate change, transition from fossil fuels to clean energy and increase the ability of communities to respond to disasters made worse by climate change.
The health sector is also stepping up to reduce emissions. Health care systems are reducing waste, transitioning to clean energy sources and serving local foods. But more needs to be done. Our health care institutions and communities must progress toward building resilience in the face of climate health risks.
We can prevent a public health disaster while growing the economy and protecting the environment. Adequate investments and actions to reverse climate change are a critical down payment on the health and well-being of our patients.
Shanda Demorest, Minneapolis
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I read with interest the latest warnings from 13 federal agencies on climate change. One prediction that we would suffer as much as a 10 percent reduction in the size of the U.S. economy troubles me. This predicts 80 years into the future an economy that we can't even predict for the next quarter. If they can, please give me your tips so I can invest and supplement my retirement income. What technical advances will happen that we cannot even imagine today? I'm reminded of the prediction of Charles H. Duell, the commissioner of the U.S. patent office in 1899. He wanted to close the patent office and said: "Everything that can be invented has been invented." Let's bring that to today. Technology doubles now every five, 10 years? Again, what advances are in the works or yet to be thought of by the yet unborn?
These predictions lend too much certainty on science that is built on computer models. Models that continue to predict a future that does not conform to what is happening today. I realize weather is not climate change. But all weather by these experts is attributed to climate change. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, it strains credulity.
I'm all for being a good steward of the Earth, but the calamity predicted in the next 50 to 80 years seems to be static, rather than dynamic.
P. Alan Goodwin, Brooklyn Park
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My father told me to close the door, we can't afford to heat the outdoors. Now, many years later, it is clear we have done just that. Our government timed its release of the 2018 National Climate Assessment for chilly Nov. 23, but that doesn't mitigate the report's findings. The report lists the effects of climate change on America's economy, health, military, agriculture and natural disasters. Among them, a 10 percent hit to our GDP by 2100 and places will be facing several climate disasters at once.
Seventy percent of Americans now think that our climate is changing, but not enough of them are motivated sufficiently to act. I'm writing this letter to promote the Citizens Climate Lobby, a group that is trying to enact a national carbon fee and dividend. Their bipartisan proposal is to put a fee on carbon and increase the fee a little every year. Every American household would receive a share of that money as an annual dividend; it would generate no new tax revenue. A little over half of all Americans would actually receive more than their costs would rise. The hope is that by slowly increasing the price on carbon each year, the country will move to more sustainable clean energy and away from carbon fuels. I hope readers will think about this proposal and get behind it. Our future depends on making a change quickly.
Steve Wietgrefe, Minneapolis
The writer is a senior scientist at the University of Minnesota Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
Who understands rural needs? Farm futures are at stake
The Federal Reserve now reports an increase in farm bankruptcies ("Rural stress test," Nov. 26). Just a few days ago, future Minnesota House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, R-Crown, said that Democrats don't understand the rural areas of Minnesota.
I think we understand that Republicans are supporting President Donald Trump and the tariffs he put in place. Republicans and Trump are putting family farms out of business. If that's the Republican approach to understanding rural America, I suggest farmers start looking to Democrats before it's too late. Democrats will end the disastrous tariffs hurting farmers, businesses and consumers alike.
Douglas Wobbema, Burnsville
After Thanksgiving, some found more to celebrate in Minnesota
Saturday, a funny thing:
Post-Thanksgiving events are always fun, as the day is behind us and family and friends are free for whatever.
Our event Saturday was a housewarming for our son and bride, with a terrific mix of grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins and the best part, new babies.
But as we met, the usual banter and laughs gave way to the TV.
The Gopher football game, traditionally background noise given recent history, became the focus of attention for all but a few. The Gophs were in Madison, Wis., and, by golly, looking pretty good.
As the game went on, our communal stress level gradually grew as the more sports-minded in our crew explained the significance of a win. Minnesota would get to go to a minor bowl game. Very nice. But the real prize that winning produced was The Axe! Fifteen years of futility banished by the great effort of a young Minnesota team that, to date, had experienced no special moments. ("Defense seizes opportunities, takes Axe away from Badgers," Nov. 25)
By the end, we were all giddy.
Joe Carr, Eden Prairie
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PJ Fleck and the U Athletic Department:
On Saturday, the University of Minnesota Marching Band had tech rehearsals for its indoor concerts from 9 to noon. The students preformed their concert from 7 to 9:30 that evening. After their very long day, 200 Marching Band members went the extra mile and greeted the football team and the return of the Axe, when the team returned late Saturday night. The Marching Band had a second concert on Sunday and requested that the Axe be presented at the concert. The Athletic Department said NO. And you ask why your fan base is not supportive!
David Trembley, Minneapolis
When people come seeking safety, how do we greet them?
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free —
And we will tear gas them.
Richard Robbins, Mankato