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Letter to the editor: In denial on Trump

To the editor:

The United States is in a deep state of denial. We are facing an unprecedented climate emergency. This is the biggest war humans will ever fight. This month more battlelines were drawn. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said on national television that he does not think carbon dioxide is the main knob that is changing the Earth's temperature. This is a lie. Trump staffed his lead agencies with climate deniers, including Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy and Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Tillerson was the recent CEO of ExxonMobil—a company that funds climate-change-denying organizations. These people have been purchased by Big Oil and Gas to deceive you. Elders from former Republican and Democrat Administrations are sounding the alarm about this denial.

Here is what every American family needs to know. The cause of climate change is not complicated. When you burn carbon, like gasoline or coal, it makes carbon dioxide gas. This gas is colorless and odorless and it doesn't go away for a long time. Carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere and traps heat, which makes the Earth hotter. Or it goes into the ocean and makes water more acidic, like a soda pop. Humans have burned so much carbon since 1850 that we have literally changed our air.

2014 was the hottest year ever on record, followed by 2015, followed by 2016. We are condemning our grandchildren to life on a planet that will be more difficult to grow food and will have more weather extremes. Many oil companies finally acknowledge this truth: BP, Shell, and ExxonMobil. Just Google, "ExxonMobil on climate change" and read about it. They all admit that climate change is a significant challenge. Unfortunately, we can't look to these companies for leadership. It would be like looking to cigarette companies to cure lung cancer.

We need to mobilize for the war of our generation—is is a war to radically change our energy system. In WWII, we built tanks and planes, today we can build wind turbines and solar panels. We have wind, solar, and biomass energy in Minnesota and around the world. Already, Minnesota will get 25% of its electricity from renewables—and getting to 50 percent is another modest step.

We are not fighting to save the planet—the Earth will endure. We are fighting for our place on the planet—and for all the other creatures that have learned to live with the current climate. This could be our finest hour if we acted. I believe we will.