I have read many news reports referring to Duluth as a “climate haven.” Those who think or believe this do not fully understand the effects of climate change.

Duluth is a hurricane, typhoon, or earthquake haven, but that has always been the case, due to its geographical location. No place can be a climate haven because the impacts of climate change are global.

Consider that California is the largest agricultural producing state in the union (about 13% of all cash crops). Increases in wildfires, droughts, and earthquakes will drastically impact the supply of produce, increasing costs all across the country, including in Minnesota.

Washington, Oregon and northern California are among the top softwood lumber producers in the country (wood used to build). Georgia and Mississippi are right there with them. The Pacific Northwest is set to have an increase in wildfires and droughts, while the South will see an increase in hurricanes. All of this will choke supply, creating costs to build across the country, including in Minnesota.

Also, increases in the frequency and severity of natural disasters will require more money for disaster relief. This will likely be funded by increases in taxes that all citizens pay.

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For Duluth specifically, some predictors indicate the city will have 50 fewer days below freezing by 2100 (while that may seem far off, consider that those born today will likely live to then) and 50 fewer days below freezing. Imagine the impacts on winter tourism, ice fishing, Spirit Mountain, and Lutsen.

In short, greenhouse gases impact the entire world, no matter where they are emitted. By thinking of Duluth as a “climate haven,” we are convincing ourselves that we do not need to participate in solving this problem.

Mike Bahr


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