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The mounting human and financial toll being exacted by our changing climate can leave us wondering how much time we have left before we simply must make significant changes in energy production and usage to ward off the worst consequences of a warming planet.

We now have a definitive answer: two weeks!

As evidenced in the recent electoral debates, this administration and the Republican party in general steadfastly refuse to even acknowledge the issue, instead falling back on the ridiculous deflection about clean air and water. We choose another four years of this at our peril.

Atmospheric warming is not a theory. If you add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere they will trap heat. That is a fact. We have been dumping roughly 150 million tons of methane and 35 billion tons of CO2 into the air annually, and the blanket effect is cumulative. Newly released CO2 remains suspended in the atmosphere for roughly 100 years.

The record setting storms and rainfall events, rising sea levels that regularly flood streets in coastal towns, including some military bases, altered crop yields, massive western fires and rising property insurance rates are not the new normal. As we continue to add heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere, we are constantly hurtling past our present circumstances for even more pronounced difficulties.

The upshot of all this is that, quoting Tom Friedman, "We are now trying to manage what has become unavoidable, so as to avoid reaching the truly unmanageable." This also means that for those of us who are parents, it is not only unfair, but virtually impossible to leave this for the next generation to solve. You cannot refreeze a melted polar icecap. This is serious stuff and it is frightening. But the best thing we as citizens can do is also the easiest. Vote.

The full democratic slate of Joe Biden, Angie Craig and Andrea Nelsen have all committed to working from day one to put us on a path to renewable energy and a carbon neutral future. Donald Trump and most republican candidates continue to ignore the issue or worse. We have two weeks left to decide to change the leadership in this country and in our state. Please think carefully about what is at stake.

If you are interested in an Andrea Nelsen, Angie Craig or hard-to-get Biden sign, go to andreanelsenforhouse.com

John Barden

Prior Lake

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