The latest analysis of scientific data by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is grim. Oceans are warming faster and feedback loops are stronger than predicted. We have about 12 years to drastically reduce carbon emissions or face unprecedented adverse effects to ecosystems and human well-being.
If our community had similar warnings about a looming financial crisis, we'd go into emergency mode. But because it's not all about money, it seems just an optional concern. Our budgets don't reflect the gravity of the situation. Our systems and planning don't seem to have adjusted to the new threat.
For example, the city will spend $42 million to expand the high energy use La Crosse Center, but its program to help reduce residents' energy use can't serve all who signed up. Why isn't climate impact a deciding factor for every public dollar spent? When does reducing carbon emissions become a top priority?
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Every community must participate in this race to stop catastrophic global warming. Elected leaders need strong public support to invest in clean energy (which often save money) and push policy, program and planning changes.
On Saturday, Jan. 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Coulee Region Sierra Club will host a Community Conversation on Our Climate Resolutions at the South Community Library, 1307 16th St. S.
This will be a chance for people to talk, share ideas and make climate resolutions and a plan to fulfill them. It's free and open to all. More details at cr-sierra.blogspot.com.
Cathy Van Maren, La Crosse