There’s been news and discussion in North State media recently about wildfires, and whether climate change plays a role in their increased frequency and intensity, or if it’s just vegetation management and the wildland urban interface. But it’s tough to address a topic this complex in 600-word articles or 1 to 2 minute on-air reports. How to learn more? Our local community college’s advisory board last winter agreed it was of high importance to develop a course on this topic. To find instructors, they contacted the local group North State Climate Action, and two members (the authors) volunteered. Next week, that course begins, running for the next three Thursday evenings.
We think a lot of North State business people and citizens, even those who doubt that climate change is real or serious, will get a lot out of it, for this simple reason: there are more and more policy changes coming that are going to impact the way we do things (example below). Our course is going to cover solutions to climate change, and the economics, which can be very good for businesses that plan ahead but bad for those who don’t.
First, clear messages about the urgency of solving climate change are no longer coming just from scientists and enviros. Last month, the US national trade group Business Roundtable and the US government’s Commodities Futures Trading Commission (all five commissioners appointed by President Trump) issued reports calling for climate action, saying explicitly that “climate change poses a major risk to the stability of the U.S. financial system and to its ability to sustain the American economy.”
Second: even China is taking action. We hear a lot of concern about them building coal plants, and they are still building some. But they cancelled over 100 coal plants 2-3 years ago, and they’ve installed about 40 gigawatts of solar each of the last three years, roughly six times the 7~8 GW installed in the US each of those years. Why? because it’s way less expensive. And last week Chinese President Xi Jinping announced to the UN General Assembly that China’s goal is to achieve peak emissions before 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2060. They are taking climate and pollution seriously – and by dragging our feet on the solutions, which present the greatest business opportunities over the next several decades, America is giving away our global economic leadership.
An example of a policy that will have impacts: California just announced it will only allow zero emission cars to be sold new after 2035 (https://www.foxnews.com/auto/california-gov-newsom-order-bans-gas-diesel-cars-by-2034). This is in addition to 15 nations around the world, including China, India, and 4 of the G7 nations that already have similar bans.
North State residents, who value our autonomy, will undoubtedly chafe at such policies. But climate change is not a hoax, and as evidenced by the announcements from the Business Roundtable and the CFTC, even conservative business leaders are recognizing that a do-nothing approach will be both more dangerous and much MORE expensive than taking smart action. To help North State businesses, community leaders, and citizens understand why, and the importance of taking action at all levels, and how to future-proof our community and our way of life, join us in this course with an open and inquisitive mind.
The course will be held over the next three Thursday evenings, October 8th, 15th, and 22nd, from 6:30pm to 8:0pm each evening. Like all Shasta College courses this fall, it will be online via Zoom. Sign up at https://shastacollege.coursestorm.com/category/climate-change.
Dan Greaney and Pete Marsh, Redding