In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams famously wrote that the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything was the number 42. The current issue of Time Magazine’s cover article is titled “Climate is Everything”. I would encourage you to read the Time article as it makes a number of excellent points. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if the parts add up to 42.
Climate change has increased the frequency and intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms. A pair of hurricanes slamming into Central America last year set the stage for the stream of migrants seeking asylum at our southern border. We ought to be helping Central American countries recover so that their citizens don’t feel the need to walk to the United States.
Both California and Texas have suffered from what appear to have been climate related issues in the past year. Between California’s wildfires and rolling blackouts and Texas’ frozen natural gas lines, it is clear that neither the politics of the left or the right have all the answers. We’ll do better if everyone puts their heads together.
In addition to the surge in illegal immigrants from Central America, Social scientists are drawing links between climate change and reduced productivity, and even a spike in crime. They may well be onto something. Fortunately, there are solutions.
The electrification of America’s motor vehicle fleet will go a long way toward addressing climate change. Climate change isn’t the primary reason I personally went electric. Economics and, quite frankly, the fun of driving a car with instant torque did the trick for me. Prices are rapidly coming down and dozens of new electric vehicles are coming out, including trucks and SUVs, over the course of the next couple of years. Most people who spend any amount of time behind the wheel of an EV come away impressed.
Our electrical grid is already getting cleaner. TECO’s decision to retire a coal plant in Tampa is just one example. Continuing to promote solar, wind, and battery storage solutions will accelerate the process. You can see an example of how this works by visiting Babcock Ranch, outside of Naples. In addition to solar panels on homes and even solar “trees” in the town center, Babcock Ranch spots 149 megawatts of solar capacity with 650,000 solar panels on 870 acres feeding into the Florida Power and Light grid.
I would suggest that you might want to check out a copy of “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” by Bill Gates from the library. His view is that there is no one magic bullet that will solve the climate crisis, but rather that we need to take an “All of the Above” approach to the problem.
Make no mistake, somebody is going to work to create the solutions needed to deal with the climate crisis. If we don’t take the lead, someone else will. My strong preference is that those solutions come from Americans, with the resulting jobs being right here in the USA.
This Thursday is Earth Day 2021. I’ve got something planned and I’ll tell you all about it next week. What will you be doing on Earth Day?
Rob Marlowe, Mayor