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Climate change is the largest issue at hand
The third democratic presidential debate was held last Thursday and we got off to a hot start on healthcare. Which is important buuuuuut…I wanted to hear more about climate change action. Specifically, how are we planning for this?
Especially, after the leader of the free world informed his citizens of weather forecasts à la Sharpie?
Now, we’ll get back to the Sharpie-gate scandal later but the truth about climate change is not too far off from the Statue of Liberty drowning in water. So this begs the question: At what point, are we going to seriously consider the science behind climate change and take meaningful action? We’ve pushed climate change to the back burner at every presidential debate thus far and I think that we are not giving this issue the respect it truly deserves.
We need Carbon Emission Incentives NOW
In the past, climate change did occur naturally however, the Earth was not heating up at the current rate AND humans weren’t the main culprit. The situation is different now so we need to take all the data that scientists have collected and are still collecting to make educated decisions.
Paris Climate Agreement - Accountability
Currently, there are no carbon neutrality goals for the United States. Why? Just ask the man who killed the US’s participation in the Paris Agreement himself.
Nothing gets by the dark lord. Not even Obama Netflix.
If you don’t know what the Paris Agreement is, it is the international agreement that holds countries accountable for reducing the risks and effects of climate change by “keeping the increase in global average temperature to below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels”. Let’s try to figure out how we can keep the global average temperature from increasing too fast by seeing which economic sectors are contributing the most.
Back in 2017, the transportation, electricity and industry sectors contributed to 79% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions with industry and electricity totaling half of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions! These are sectors comprised of corporations that have deep pockets and deep political influence. And if you are only going to be telling these leaders to stop producing more greenhouse gases, then you will not get much rise out of them. After all, doing so won’t affect the one thing these corporate leaders genuinely care about and that’s profit. So put away your tote bags and bicycle helmets because what I am suggesting next is for politicians.
In order for these corporations to play ball, we need politicians to set up legislation that will impact the profit margins for these economic sectors. It goes without saying that we need non-corrupt politicians. *Cough*
Image from CNN - link attached to photo.
You all may remember former presidential candidate, Jay Inslee. You know, the Washington Governor that made climate change the backbone of his Presidential campaign but it wasn’t enough to garner support from voters. Back in 2018, Jay fought for the introduction of carbon taxes but it failed…twice; which is unfortunate because if you really want to dissuade companies from polluting too much then you should charge them for doing so. If you don’t know what carbon taxes do, they essentially would charge companies money for emitting greenhouse gases. This is the incentive that corporations need to invest in clean technology in order to avoid paying the carbon tax.
The goal is still Carbon Neutrality
Getting corporations to invest in clean technology is great but it is all part of a larger vision. Earlier this year, AOC & Ed Markey introduced the Green New Deal, which is a plan for the United States to essentially be carbon neutral in 10 years time. This legislation failed to pass through the Senate but it sets the tone for what should come - a dire need for climate action immediately. For now, this is exactly what it sounds like: an ambitious goal without much large political backing and that is why it is being stopped at Congress. But we need to stand behind ambitious goals like Green New Deal when it comes to climate change because we need to act accordingly especially when humanity is on the line.