Consider the future when voting for Congress | SierraSun.com

Consider the future when voting for Congress

Other Voices
Truckee High School Nordic Ski Team

At the end of our Nordic ski season, we were frustrated by below average snowfall and also fearful of what climate change means for our futures.

So, we sent a petition to Tom McClintock, our region's representative in Congress. This summer, McClintock's office responded with a canned letter informing us that the science of climate change is "suspect," that climate change is a natural process (mentioning grapes grown in northern Britain in the 13th century), and that any attempt to address climate change will "devastate our economy and make America less competitive with nations like China."

Although we are only high school students, we are pretty sure he is wrong on all accounts.

1. Yes, climate has always changed in the past, but the association between temperature and CO2 concentration has been below 300 parts per million (ppm) for millions of years (including when grapes were grown in northern Britain!). Human activity has now raised CO2 to 400 ppm, already raising temperature by 1 degree C and contributing to an increased cluster of record heat events.

2. The above is verifiable, settled science, not "suspect science." Climate change is agreed on by reputable scientists around the world. Who should we believe: a politician looking for oil money, or scientists with doctorate degrees and decades of peer review to back them up?

3. China is not shying away from regulations or investments that promote aggressive pursuit of renewable energy. In fact, they blew us out of the water long ago with solar panel production, and are now also actively testing the viability of other renewables like wind. Nationally, China aims to produce 20 percent of its energy from clean sources by 2040. Last year, nearly half of the world's new renewable energy investment came from China. Although China is also continuing to use coal for their short term needs (at great environmental and health costs to their citizens), they know they need to phase it out. A long-term vision to tackle climate change will make us more competitive with China, not less.

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In American history class we learned about the prosperity that followed World War II after we re-tooled our whole industries overnight. That challenge required courage, bold action, and citizens united around a common vision. Already, in California, we have the strictest environmental laws in the United States, and yet we also have the sixth strongest economy in the world! Corporations like Apple are not afraid of regulation but are leading the way by taking all of their energy from renewable sources. Tackling global climate change can work. We just need leaders in Congress willing to make it happen.

We believe Tom McClintock wants to keep us divided and looking backward. We hope our parents (and all citizens) will help us look out for our uncertain future, consider the facts, reject fear-based lies, and vote for change this November.

Truckee High School Nordic Skiers Ben Anderson, Evan Anderson, Megan Dalicandro, Jenna Elliott, Grace Hodous, Cole Jacobsen, Calin Laine, Sawyer Laine, KC Larkins, Kili Lehmkuhl , Amelia Swanson and Mary Ellen Benier (coach).