Climate conundrum

To the Journal editor:

Dear fellow yoopers, I took my birthday walk on the beach last week. Bare sand, sun, 50 degrees; it was effortless to be out there for an hour. It would be delightful in April.

Here in February, for my birthday walk, it is wrong. A pleasant day on the beach should be sunny, the crunch of snow and ice underfoot, and enough cold moist air coming off the lake that I need a face covering or risk frostbite.

I miss that; it is home to me. Being with the lake this year, having it feel like it did … felt a tiny bit like holding the hand of a dying person. A ministry of presence to something that is already mostly gone.

Some lament the cancelled UP200, or the poor skiing this year. My 8-year-old daughter asks me where all the snow went. I think of the people whose businesses survive because of those who come to the Upper Peninsula for winter: the bars, gas stations, motels and restaurants which might not make it through this winter of 40 degrees and no snow.

I also worry about fires and drought this summer with no snow pack. Next year will probably be better — but winters like this will happen again. They used to be unthinkable.

This is climate change. It is a threat to our way of life here in the U.P. This is not a problem individuals can solve: even if we could all afford an EV and solar on our roof, our nation and our world need systemic changes in transportation, electricity, and construction that individuals cannot cause.

This is not a problem that markets can sort out: Methane and carbon emissions are shadow costs that emitters produce but everyone else pays, breaking the magic of the free market system.

This is not a problem that is too expensive to fix: Every year the costs we will have to pay to adapt grow much faster than the expense of making difficult changes now. Beyond the dollars and cents, it is hard to put a price tag on Home, and that is what we’re losing.

To protect the winter that is part of what the U.P. means, we need our government to institute a carbon fee paid by emitters which funds support for those who cannot afford to make climate adjustments alone.

I urge U.S. Rep. Bergman and U.S. Sens. Peters and Stabenow to support bills like HR 5744, and to consider climate effects as economic issues when they’re considering other major legislation, such as the farm bill.




Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today