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Building back a better climate

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To the editor: According to Joe Biden, we need to “Build Back Better,” and scientists agree (I happen to be one). A big part of that is building back fossil free. Climate change is not only part of a future that we must prepare for, it’s a part of life today. I’ve only lived in Fairbanks for five years, but I’ve already seen the effects of climate change here, destroying roads, delaying snow and making hunting not only more difficult, but more dangerous as well. These and other effects stifle our economy.

Thankfully, we know how to deal with climate change. Countless engineers and scientists have spent their lives figuring it out and how we can undo the damage; Arrhenius was one of the first to warn us about human-caused climate change back in 1896 (that’s right, over 120 years ago). We need to stop using fossil fuels and switch to renewables and green energy now, not later. We need to cease our yearly $20 billion subsidies to fossil fuel companies. We need to stop current fossil fuel projects, like developing the North Slope. We need to hold fossil fuel executives responsible for the decades of lies and purposeful obfuscation of the truth that has led to this point.

Quite frankly, addressing human-caused climate change is not difficult; we have solutions. The problem is that addressing climate change requires persistent action. I have spent my life listening to our leaders alternate between pretending that this issue doesn’t exist, and talking about saving our futures while effectively doing nothing. Unless we take long-term action now, right now, we are making the choice to let future Alaskans suffer as our own futures’ fade.

Biden could be different. He could use executive authority to stop fossil fuel projects. He could stand up to fossil fuel CEOs. He could make the U.S. a climate leader. So far, he hasn’t; he shows all the signs of being just another lame duck, passing the problem down to the next generation like so many others. But, I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’ll prove me wrong.

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