Climate change has been in the headlines the past few weeks with a United Nations panel issuing new warnings and the U.S. government outlining the effects a warming climate will have on different parts of the country. Then the U.N. stated that many countries are not meeting the goals they set in the Paris Climate Accord in 2015.
However, there is some very good news on combating climate change that was not widely reported. A bipartisan bill (yes, Republicans and Democrats working together!) was introduced in the House on Nov. 27 called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. The bipartisan proposal would place a fee on fossil fuels like coal and oil and redistribute the proceeds equally to all U.S. households. The majority of households would benefit and the market forces would help accelerate a clean-energy transition. This policy would be good for our economy and our environment. The Citizens Climate Lobby, with 484 active chapters and over 100,000 members, played a major role in getting this bill written and is now busy working with members of Congress to get it passed.
This is a very big step in replacing the dire warnings we have seen in the headlines with good news about how working across the aisle can solve issues like climate change.
Steven Jorissen, St. Paul
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Clearly, there is a full-court press going on over climate change. There is no shortage of dire warnings published in the Star Tribune and elsewhere. The overriding warning is that we must move away from all fossil fuel consumption if we are to “survive.” To the “scientists”: Please tell us what the alternative raw products will be. How will we construct our “solar gardens” and our “wind farms”? Where will we get the electricity to power the vehicles presently on the road?
What will our buildings and homes be made of? That is just a start. Your breathless warnings are meaningless without concrete solutions.
Joe Polunc, Cologne
Farm bankruptcies are another reason to shop local for food
When I read about our local farmers going bankrupt, I was appalled. Big corporations like Cargill and Tyson are tearing down the rain forest to grow food and our local farmers can’t even sell theirs? There is already too much food and we are destroying our planet to grow more. This is why we need to start seriously thinking about where our food comes from.
McDonald’s and Whole Foods are two of their biggest customers, and they’ve turned a blind eye to their farming practices because it saves them a dollar. We cannot allow this. We need to demand that places like McDonald’s and Whole Foods stop buying from these companies until they vow to be more conservative. This will level the playing field for our local farmers, too. We can’t let the people we buy food from allow the further destruction of our planet, and we can’t let them make our local farmers go bankrupt.
Casey Malan, Stillwater
For walkable city, council president needs to clean up her sidewalk
Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender is a champion of our walkable city, and yet by not shoveling her walk (SEVEN TIMES!), she doesn’t make her part of her neighborhood walkable (“Sidewalk rule comes home to roost,” Nov. 28). What’s deplorable is, she shrugs it off on her family and never really apologizes to those who were affected — the elderly, the disabled or anyone else needing to use her sidewalk.
She thinks that by paying her fine, everything is good. Trouble is, her walk wasn’t shoveled for probably two to three days, depending on when the complaint was made and when the city contractor could get there. Maybe she could use her increased salary to hire a snow-removal service or a teenager down the street. Lisa, (shovel the) walk the talk!
Bridget Peterson, Minneapolis
Homeless encampment shows enormity of economic struggle
When I see just one or two
in my small neighborhood park,
I’m not too bothered.
I simply accept that misfortune
can happen to anyone, or naively assume
it could be a personal choice.
But, the ragged quilt of multicolored shelters
stretched along Highway 55
makes me realize there are so many more.
There is indeed a city of the needy,
clustered together for protection,
no longer strewn afar and nicely
insulated from our view during commutes.
We will provide a thin net of support,
meagerly sliced from this
alleged booming economy and
relocate them a block or two,
once again out of sight. Yet,
now we know that so many really try to exist
here in this mythical Land of Hiawatha,
not just tucked away elsewhere
under darkened bridges in Chicago, Detroit
or somewhere in the South.
And, winter is already here.
Steven M. Lukas, Minneapolis
At a time of plenty, how can we let crisis in Yemen continue?
On Thanksgiving Day, I read about the starvation in Yemen. I knew about the current appalling conditions, starvation and bloodshed in Yemen. I knew something about the wider conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran that is playing out in Yemen. What I did not know is that “more than 85,000 people” may have died of starvation since 2015, when Saudi Arabia intervened.
I am speechless and utterly demoralized that this is occurring in the 21st Century. What has become of us that we could allow such a thing to happen to our fellow humans? Where is our morality, our respect for the dignity and worth of every living human?
I had a delicious and fulfilling Thanksgiving meal with people I love dearly. Every person deserves to have food and water to live and thrive. I don’t know what to do about this horrible crisis. I know we cannot go on like this, destroying ourselves, our fellow humans and our planet.
Charles Greenman, Minnetonka
Kudos to those managing bustle of highway project as cars pass
I don’t travel north from Crosstown on Interstate Hwy. 35W that often, but when I do I see a small city of cranes, bulldozers, trucks, shovels, concrete, steel, pipes and construction workers — lots of workers. Bridges are torn down and new bridges take their place; lanes narrow, close, realign and expand; ramps widen and reopen; dirt and concrete are pushed, pulled, dumped and reclaimed. The management of this complex construction schedule (the gantt chart has to be as long as a football field) and human engineering is incredible. It’s a construction zone of organized chaos and still cars go north and south.
Thank you, MnDOT.
Philip John Kluesner, Minneapolis