An open letter to Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi:
Dear Governor Bryant,
I am writing to discuss an issue which, I would hope, is a pressing concern to our entire nation, that of climate change. As a result of President Trump’s actions, this country is now in the process of exiting the Paris Climate Accord. The goals of the Paris Climate Accord are to grow and strengthen the global response to climate change by attempting to keep the global temperature from increasing over 2° Celsius this century and providing aid to still developing countries so that they too can address the threat of climate change. This could have drastic effects on the world as a whole, as well as Mississippi specifically.
Internationally, in typically dry countries such as Iraq and Egypt and in places with high altitudes, water is becoming a scarcity and something over which groups are fighting for control, with Egypt and Ethiopia on the brink of war as a result. The oceans are rising at a rapidly increasing rate per year, with the latest rise is about 3.2 millimeters in a year, as the Arctic ice is melting at a rate of 13.2% per decade alongside a global decrease in glaciers which have been the cause of at least one-third of the rise in ocean levels over the past century. This is causing the habitats of many species to become dangerously small. It can also be seen that the global average temperature has risen since the start of the Industrial Revolution in 1880, which was the beginning of the mass use of fossil fuels by people. Between then and 2012, the global temperature increased about 1.53° Fahrenheit and seventeen of the eighteen warmest years in a 136-year record have occurred since 2001.
For Mississippi, one aspect of this which will be especially critical is the effect on our agriculture, as shown by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2016. Due to increasing temperatures, corn yields will decrease as a direct effect. While increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may be predicted to offer benefits to certain forms of agriculture such as soybeans, cotton, wheat, and peanuts, they will still be indirectly affected by the increased heat due to the growing possibility and severity of water shortages and periods of drought. This is not the only issue though, as the weather is becoming increasingly severe, floods are growing in size, and we are losing ground on the coast every year.
Because of this, I ask that you consider leading Mississippi to join “America’s Pledge.” This is the national coalition of states, cities, and businesses pledging to continue as many goals of the Paris Accord as possible, even without the aid of the national government. It recognizes the immediate need to discuss one of the most pressing issues of our times, climate change so that Mississippi and the rest of the world will be able to tell the next generation that they did something about climate change and not leave the problem for them. The members of this together are, in effect, the third largest economy in the world and include participants such as the state of California, the City of New York, and the business Walmart.
In conclusion, I ask that you consider joining “America’s Pledge,” if not for the world as a whole, then at least for Mississippi.
For the Next Generation,
This letter has been edited by Editor Mateo Portelli