Mirror Lake State Park

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By Mike Moen

November 5, 2021   

WESTON, Wis. — In Washington, D.C. and on the other side of the globe, key talks continue surrounding climate-change solutions, and at the local level, frustration is mounting that Wisconsin communities will have to adapt to a new way of life if concrete action is not taken.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference continues in Scotland, while in Congress, the latest version of the Build Back Better plan is being sorted out.

The group Elected Officials to Protect America (EOPA), which includes members from Wisconsin, does not just want goals laid out.

Nathan Fiene, Weston village trustee, said across the region, weather seasons are not as predictable as they used to be, which he believes threatens outdoor recreation.

“I think that by tackling climate change and actually putting some teeth into a plan, global leaders will be able to not just literally save the planet but also to preserve — not just Wisconsin but — a Midwestern way of life,” Fiene explained.

Other EOPA members argued drought and floods linked to climate change will cause economic hardship, while creating lasting health effects in marginalized communities.

While it has been trimmed down, Build Back Better supporters say it still includes more than $500 billion in investments to curb climate change. Republicans, and even some Senate Democrats, have balked at the cost of the package. Groups say the proposed investments are urgent, but more will be needed to address the existential threat.

Fiene noted a provision to expand consumer rebates in making homes more energy efficient, including solar installation, is important, but policymakers should not stop there.

“A lot of these rebates need to be even more so that the working-class people, like myself, can afford to do it,” Fiene contended. “That’s why we need to mandate it simply beyond rebates.”

He emphasized there should be blanket energy-efficiency requirements for all new subdivisions, allowing more families to play a part in reducing carbon emissions.

On the global front, world leaders secured agreements to reduce deforestation and methane emissions. Methane is the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas next to carbon dioxide.

Meanwhile in Congress, Democrats are trying to keep a measure in the Build Back Better Act that would place fees on methane emissions.

References:  COP26 conference United Nations 2021
Build Back Better framework White House 10/28/2021
Letter Elected Officials to Protect America 09/15/2021