Opinion

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Guest Column

Our Climate Crisis

Some Montanans don’t think the climate crisis is real or impacting us

I bristled when reading Tammi Fisher’s column titled “Climate Change Pawns” in last week’s Beacon. She feels that children should not be marching for a clean planet on a school day. She felt they were being used to forward a false narrative and that the “Strike for the Climate” created an unnecessary panic.

Some Montanans don’t think the climate crisis is real or impacting us. Most would be surprised to learn that according to state and national agencies, Northwest Montana is warming at twice the worldwide rate. In 25 years Glacier National Park has lost 75 percent of its glaciers! In 1994 there were 100, now there are 25.

In 1977, I built my first house. President Jimmy Carter had just installed solar panels on the White House and was authorizing a tax credit for installing solar panels on home roofs. I jumped at that offer and mine was the first house in the neighborhood to sport them. When Ronald Reagan became president, he removed the White House panels and canceled the tax breaks. Oil was crowned king.

Sometimes I get the “what ifs.” What if the United States had stayed the “renewable” course? We had the opportunity to be the world’s leader in an exploding industry, but we blew it.

According to a recent study done by The Sierra Club, 39 percent of the electricity used in our country could be generated on our rooftops right now. Huge new tariffs on the import of these panels have slowed down that goal considerably. And wind offers even more potential.

Tammi correctly stated that the government already spends billions of dollars subsidizing solar and wind. Annually we spend $2.8 billion, mostly in the form of tax breaks. The fossil fuel industry scoops up $20 billion of our taxes annually, mostly in the form of cash. Worldwide, fossil fuel subsidies amount to $5 trillion.

On Sept. 20, 4 million people marched against the Climate Crisis. For a year of Fridays before that, a 15-year-old girl quietly sat in front of the Swedish Parliament holding a sign asking her leaders for action on climate change. She was angry. For over 40 years the fossil fuel industry knew its oil was driving up deadly carbon levels and not only did nothing but withheld the facts from the public. Sadly, her generation will bear the brunt of catastrophes generated because the grownup leaders of the world were bought off.

By the way, Tammi, Greta Thunberg’s sit-ins and subsequent demonstrations were held on Fridays (a school day), because Parliament is closed on Saturdays.    

Carol Blake lives in Eureka.