We can’t stop damage, but we can take action
Within the past few months, there have been hurricanes hitting multiple parts of the United States.
One of the largest earthquakes in 100 years hit Mexico.
Massive wildfires have wiped out much of northern California.
This is a direct result of climate change.
Scientists knew that disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Maria were coming, but people in power refused to listen.
On June 1, 2017, the White House released a statement from President Donald Trump regarding the Paris Climate Agreement.
“In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord,” Trump said. “The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers—who I love—and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production.”
The Paris Climate Agreement’s main goal is to “strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”
The agreement also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change and requires all members of the agreement to put forward their best efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“The Paris Accord shows that most of the world recognizes that it has a problem and is trying to do things to cut down on carbon emissions,” Earth science professor Clark Hadley said. “Anything we can do to slow that down is going to help, but the ball’s already rolling, so we’re going to deal with consequences.”
If the Paris Climate Agreement reaches its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, scientists say it will prevent a major increase in global temperatures that would raise sea levels, spark major droughts and lead to more dangerous storms.
“There has to be a political will to want to do that and, usually, you don’t have a political will to want to do something like that until it gets really bad,” Hadley said.
The U.S. is the second-largest carbon dioxide-emitting nation on the planet after China, according to the European Commission.
Syria announced Nov. 7 that it would join the climate pact, leaving the U.S. to be the only country that has declined to join the agreement to combat climate change.
Not only does the decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement make the U.S. look ignorant and inconsiderate of our Earth, it will also make it very hard for other countries to want to make agreements with the U.S. in the future.
Just because our leaders don’t want to take action in reducing the damage we’ve caused the Earth doesn’t mean we can’t. There’s little things that we can all do that, when multiplied by millions of people, can help make a difference.
Here’s five things you can do: be informed, recycle, reduce waste, change how you get around and be energy efficient.
“We do have choices we can make about whether we decide to dump pollutants into the atmosphere. It is a choice,” Hadley said. “It’s easier to keep doing what we’re doing, but easier isn’t the best solution here.”