Thank you to Vinje Church for showing the documentary “Paris to Pittsburgh.” It showed how cities across the U.S. are turning the climate crisis into an opportunity.

The cost of the California Camp, Hill and Woolsey fires is already over $12 billion. But California is taking positive steps in switching from fossil fuels to renewables. GRID Alternatives in Los Angeles makes affordable solar power and solar jobs accessible to low-income neighborhoods. LA is the No. 1 solar city in the U.S. California has over 80,000 solar jobs and is the first state to require all new homes to have solar power.

The cost of the 2019 floods in Iowa reached more than $2 billion. But Iowa sees an opportunity in switching to solar and wind energy. In Kalona, Iowa, 20% of Farmers Electric Cooperative’s customers own solar arrays and 20% of its kilowatt hours per year are generated by solar. On a sunny afternoon, they typically generate 100% of their kilowatt hours locally.

Iowa Lakes Community College offers a two-year associate degree in wind technology, earning graduates $50,000 to $90,000 in wages the first year. Iowa ranks first in the nation in percentage of its power generated by wind.

The documentary also warned against delaying action. Shell Oil’s proposal to delay curtailing carbon dioxide emissions until 2030 and then using direct air capture to remove 8 billion tons of CO2 from the air after 2070 selfishly puts the cost burden on future generations. What Shell doesn’t tell us is that it costs $200 per ton to remove CO2 from the air. So, 8 billion tons times $200 would be $1.6 trillion annually. This is about 8% of the $20 trillion U.S. GNP.

Looking at this another way, if we added this to the cost per gallon of gasoline, we would divide $1.6 trillion by our 143 billion-gallon annual gasoline usage and find that gas would cost an additional $11.20 per gallon.

We should demand that our local government show us that they are doing something now to respond to climate change. Speak up. Demand action.

Steve Molenaar

Willmar