Should climate change matter to Hoosiers? In its recent climate change impact study, Purdue University reports that Indiana temperatures could rise up to 6 degrees by 2050. Researchers see a nasty hit to our food crops. Higher temperatures have already reduced corn yields, but more heat stress and drought are expected to shrink corn yields 16-20% and soybean yields 9-11%. Bad news for farm economies and everyone's food security.
Increasing temperatures will first bring Indiana heavier rains and more flooding. But when summer droughts come, they are likely to be more intense. It's simple science. Higher temperatures evaporate more water from the soil and warmer air holds more water vapor. Perfect conditions for heavy rains and flooding are created. But when most of that water runs off into rivers and streams, the soil is left in a moisture shortage condition.
To favorably avoid the coming climate disasters, we must review the energy picture from everyone's perspective. And we must agree to level the playing field so that renewable energy can fairly compete with and in due time displace the fossil fuel industry. Clearly, we can deter climate change by reducing market incentives and subsidies for fossil fuels while providing the footing for a new renewable energy infrastructure.
While the reality of climate change demands that we focus on renewables, the growth of clean energy must leave no one behind. Politics has to promise and deliver what folks want and need. Wouldn't be truly inspired if government assembled a high profile economic development council that supported and revitalized energy-based communities which fear being left behind?
The council's agenda should also be expanded to include our rural farming and small manufacturing towns. They are suffering today. Think poverty and unemployment, high rates of chronic health problems, insufficient access to health insurance and quality health care, low educational attainment and failing infrastructure. Shouldn't many of these problems be solved by now? But, do you feel we can begin to talk together, to work together?
Stephen Kish Sr., Crown Point