opinion   |   column

COLUMN: The government needs to take action against climate change



On Oct. 8, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report saying humanity has until 2030 to prevent a disastrous level of global warming. If we continue on the same path, by 2030 the Earth will have warmed by 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

This may not seem like a lot, but a temperature increase of this magnitude would drastically increase “climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth," according to the official report.

Despite this terrifying conclusion, there are still people who believe climate change does not exist. Even Donald Trump has called climate change a hoax multiple times. According to a 2015 report, the United States ranks second carbon dioxide emissions— both total and per capita —in the world. How are we supposed to save ourselves if the president of the country responsible for 15 percent of emissions won’t even respond to this chilling report?

There are things we can do as individuals to help curb climate change. We can drive less and carpool more, buy less clothing or buy sustainable clothing, or replace refrigerators and air conditioners with energy-saving models.

These changes made at an individual level, while important, do not come close to comparing to the changes that could be made if corporations decided to become more sustainable. Worldwide, just 100 companies are responsible for 71 percent of all emissions according to The Carbon Majors Report in 2017.

Companies are not people, and companies do not care about the environment. They exist solely to create money, and the best way for them to do so is by exploiting people and the environment. A company is not going to one day decide to become more environmentally friendly. It needs to be pushed by the government to do so.

Government regulations are the only way to stop these companies from destroying us. The problem is, the president began repealing environmental protections the moment he was sworn into office. While he did come out with a plan to fight climate change earlier this year, the plan will do nothing at best and will most likely make things worse. The plan actually promotes the use of so-called “clean coal” which is not actually clean, but just ever so slightly less deadly

Even worse, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, though he believes in climate change, has a long history of voting against environmental regulations. The highest court in the land is now on the side of doing nothing about climate change.

The United States is going backward when it comes to environmental protections in a time when we most crucially need to be going forward. If the government does not impose environmental regulations, and soon, then the damage that has been done to the environment will be irreversible. The U.S. needs to do its part in saving the planet not just for future generations, but for us.  

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

More in Opinion



Comments powered by Disqus