Lets be honest, climate change is real and the time has come for everyone in the government to put their differences to the side and address this imperative issue. It cannot be denied anymore that the whole world is at risk with the potential consequences climate change could bring. In fact, the world is already experiencing some of the effects global warming is bringing. New research suggests the oceans of the world rose faster in the past 100 years than in the 3000 previous 3000 years, around the time of the founding of Rome (Source). Also, data from NASA suggests sea levels are rising at a rate of 3.4 milliliters per year, which is more than double the average between 1900-2000, according to the study (Source). The implications of rising sea levels has already been felt throughout the world; including the city of Miami allocating 400 million dollars towards building infrastructure to fortify coastal communities. High sea levels means there will be more regular flooding in coastal communities, such as Miami and New York City (Source). Not to mention, the increasingly warm waters across the world, due to climate change and the phenomenon El Nino, have led to the highest number of shark attacks recorded since the year 2000. In 2000, there were 88 unprovoked sharks attacks but that number was surpassed in 2015 with 98 unprovoked attacks (Source). Global warming and El Nino have made previously cool waters warm; which results in more humans entering the water and the migration of sharks up the southeast coast of the United States.
Another issue that is brought up when it comes to climate change is the impact of carbon emissions on the environment. President Obama realized this and proposed a Clean Power Plan which would require states to develop plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector. However, The United States Supreme Court ruled against Obama’s climate change plan with a 5-4 vote. This wound up in court because coal-producing state West Virginia, oil-producing state Texas, and many other major business groups argued the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority in this matter was exceeded. The court was divided among ideological lines so it is not surprising the five conservatives on the bench ruled against the plan (Source).
Tom Seyer, a hedge fund manager turned environmentalist, said on this matter: “The Clean Power Plan is critical to addressing climate change–our country’s most urgent threat”(Source).
I tend to agree with Seyer because what most people fail to realize is if there is no environment, then there is no life on Earth. We literally live off of the environment and no one seems to care because nothing drastic has happened yet. Most people want to address the matter when it is blatantly in their face; however, this is not the way we should approach the situation. Too often in society we think short term with complete disregard for the long term and that is a terrible way to go about something as vital as addressing climate change. This complex issue is right in front of us and most people do not even realize it. On the other hand, there are individuals or groups of people that are aware of climate change; but, those people choose to do nothing about it. For example, conservatives almost always fail to pass environmental legislation because of the fact their ideology basically denies it. One cannot deny facts, but these people do based on a dogmatic belief. It is even possible an entity would deny climate change or withhold information on the subject in favor of their own special interests. Exxon Mobil Corporation is already being investigated by New York and now California because the corporation allegedly lied to shareholders and the public about links between their product and climate change. Supposedly, Exxon knew decades ago fossil fuel burning was warming the atmosphere; additionally, it is possible the company funded campaigns to confuse the people about the scientific certainty and human contributions related to climate change (Source).
Finally, and perhaps the most significant, new research has asserted 295,000 premature deaths could be prevented if the United States makes deep cuts in its greenhouse gas emissions (Source). Also, at a summit in Paris, world leaders agreed to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The United States would need to cut emissions by 40% by 2030, but the trade off is the cutting of emissions would save the government 800 billions dollars by 2030 due to reduced health burden (Source). However, almost all American cars would need to be electrified by then and we all know how much Americans love their cars.
Joking aside, climate change is undoubtedly a complex issue that results in various point of views. With that said, I do not think this is a time to fight over the future of the world, literally. Whether one is a Republican, Democrat, Conservative, or Liberal; no one can sufficiently deny the existence of climate change in the world. It is obvious through the warming of the seas and the extent some go through to deny it. The government needs to act now and in a proper manner if we do not want to ruin the world for future generations. As i stated before, we cannot live without the environment. Hence, if we do not fix it, there will be nothing left to bicker about. Climate change should be at the top of any country’s agenda, so we can leave the world in a better place than we found it.
Contributed by R.A.